NEW YORK/ WASHINGTON -- The United Nations Security Council plans to vote this week on a US-led push to impose additional sanctions on North Korea for its recent ballistic missile launches, according to news reports Wednesday.
A related session will be held in New York on Thursday, diplomats were quoted as saying amid a view that China and Russia -- the veto-wielding members of the council -- will likely vote against strengthening sanctions against Pyongyang.
The US government has called on the international community to join in condemning the recalcitrant North's latest missile launches, describing them as a threat to the region and the entire world.
"We know that the DPRK's ongoing provocations pose a threat to the region, pose a threat to all of us," State Department spokesperson Ned Price told a press briefing, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
"And it's incumbent on the international community to join us in condemning the DPRK's flagrant and repeated violations of these multiple UN Security Council resolutions and to uphold their obligations under all relevant UN Security Council resolutions," he added.
North Korea fired three ballistic missiles, including an apparent intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), on Wednesday (Seoul time).
The launches marked the 17th of their kind this year, North Korea has conducted at least three known ICBM tests since the start of the year.
The call to hold North Korea accountable also comes amid speculation that Pyongyang may soon conduct a nuclear test to up the ante in its ongoing saber-rattling.
North Korea last conducted a nuclear test in September 2017. The country dismantled its key nuclear test site in Punggye-ri in 2018 to show its willingness to denuclearize.
Officials in Seoul, however, have recently said the North appears to have completed "all preparations" for a nuclear test. Price earlier said the US shared the concern of a potential nuclear test by the North in the near future.
"We call on the DPRK to refrain from further provocation and to engage in sustained dialogue. Our commitment to the defense of the ROK and to Japan is ironclad," he said.
North Korea has avoided any dialogue with the US since late 2019. It has also ignored all US overtures since the Joe Biden administration took office in January 2021. (Yonhap)