UN Security Council to hold emergency meeting over North Korea

Pedestrians watch the news on a huge screen displaying a map of Japan (R) and the Korean Peninsula, in Tokyo on August 29, 2017.

:: The UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting Tuesday afternoon over North Korea’s latest missile launch at the request of Japan and the United States, diplomats said.

The planned meeting in New York comes as Washington and Tokyo agreed to step up pressure on Pyongyang after the nuclear-armed North fired a ballistic missile over Japan and into the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday. The launch represents a major escalation as tensions spike over the North’s weapons ambitions.

Exerting pressure

Meanwhile, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Tuesday that he and US President Donald Trump agreed to hike pressure on North Korea after it launched a ballistic missile over Japan, in Pyongyang’s most serious provocation in years.

“We must immediately hold an emergency meeting at the United Nations, and further strengthen pressure against North Korea,” Abe told reporters after a 40-minute phone call with Trump.

“Increasing pressure — Japan and the United States are in complete agreement about this,” Abe added, without elaborating on proposed measures. He added that Trump — who has been embroiled in an escalating war of words with Pyongyang over its weapons development — said Washington would stand by its ally Japan.

“President Trump made a very strong commitment that the United States is with Japan 100 percent,” Abe quoted Trump as saying.

International community

“We will cooperate among Japan, the US and South Korea. We will also reach out to China, Russia and the international community and apply strong pressure on North Korea to change their policy.”

Last week, Japan said it would impose fresh sanctions on North Korea by freezing the assets of Chinese and Namibian firms doing business with the nuclear-armed state.

The move against a half dozen organizations and a couple of individuals comes days after Washington expanded its own punitive measures against Chinese and Russian firms, as well as people linked to Pyongyang over its weapons development.

The sanctions are aimed at disrupting the flow of cash funding North Korean weapons programs, which are in violation of United Nations resolutions.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks to the media in Tokyo on August 29, 2017.

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