The Korea Herald


[Newsmaker] UN Security Council expected to meet Monday on NK’s missile launch

By Ahn Sung-mi

Published : Jan. 9, 2022 - 16:01

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Debates at the UN Security Council Summit in 2017 (123rf) Debates at the UN Security Council Summit in 2017 (123rf)

The UN Security Council is expected to meet behind closed doors on Monday to discuss North Korea’s missile launch, but a joint statement after the session appears to be less likely.

Diplomatic sources say the US, France and the UK -– three of the five permanent members on the council –- as well as Ireland and Albania, requested an emergency meeting to be held on Monday in the US to discuss the launch of what Pyongyang claims to be a hypersonic missile.

“We can confirm that the US, Albania, France, Ireland and the UK called for consultations on Monday on North Korea’s latest ballistic missile launch,” a State Department spokesperson told the Voice of America.

On Wednesday, the North launched what it claims to be a hypersonic missile into the East Sea, marking its first major weapons test this year, and the second reported test of a such a weapon by the Kim Jong-un regime. Last week’s launch follows a flurry of weapons tests last September and October, indicating the reclusive regime will continue to expand and modernize its aresenal amid the stalled denuclearization talks with Washington.

Following the fall launches last year, the UNSC held two emergency meetings to follow up on the North’s Sep. 28 launch of what it claimed to be a hypersonic missile, called Hwasong-8, and a submarine-launched ballistic missile on Oct. 19.

No resolution nor a joint statement were issued after the meetings. During an Oct. 1 meeting, France proposed the adoption of a joint statement condemning the launch, but Russia and China refused the measure. The Oct. 20 meeting on the SLBM test also failed to issue a joint text.

Observers say no joint statement or action is expected after the upcoming meeting, considering the precedent.

There are largely three measures the UNSC could take, including adopting a resolution that is binding, a non-binding presidential statement if the members cannot reach consensus on a resolution and a press statement.

In the past, the UNSC has adopted a resolution on North Korea in response to its intercontinental ballistic missile test and nuclear test.

Meanwhile, countries, including the US, Japan, Canada and France have condemned North Korea’s missile tests as a threat to regional stability.

France on Friday condemned the firing as violation of UNSC resolution, and called on Pyongyang to end its “program of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems, which threaten regional and international peace and security, and to comply with UN Security Council obligations.”

The US and Japan also expressed strong concerns over the regime’s advancing nuclear and missile development activities, in a joint statement issued after their “two-plus-two” meeting of foreign and defense ministers on Friday. The ministers reaffirmed their commitment to the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and urged the North to abide by its obligations under UNSC resolutions.