The U.N. Security Council on Thursday condemned North Korea\’s latest launches of medium-range ballistic missiles in violation of council resolutions.
The council met Thursday evening after the United States asked for an urgent meeting. It was unclear what kind of response the US was seeking, but Ambassador Samantha Power walked out with no comment to reporters, the Associated Press news agency reported.
"Members of the Security Council condemned this launch as a violation of Security Council resolution(s)," Luxembourg\’s UN Ambassador Sylvie Lucas, president of the 15-nation Security Council for the month of March, said.
Close allies Britain and France also demanded that the council react and send a clear warning to North Korea.
But China, a traditional ally of North Korea, was more prudent, arguing that reaction should be proportionate to Pyongyang\’s actions.
For Beijing, the priority should be to resume talks between the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States, which broke down in late 2008.
"Council members agreed to consult on an appropriate response."
"There was unanimous condemnation of the launches," Lucas told journalists, adding that, "We also all agreed that this response should be given quickly."
The launch of the Rodong missiles on Wednesday – for the first time since 2009 – violates UN resolutions banning ballistic missile launches and marks a major escalation from a series of shorter-range rocket launches the North has staged in recent weeks to protest annual military drills by the US and South Korea.
Pyongyang has carried out a series of rocket and short-range missile launches in recent weeks, sparking condemnation from Seoul and Washington.
On Wednesday, it upped the ante by test-firing two mid-range ballistic missiles capable of striking Japan.
The move came in response to President Barack Obama\’s hosting of a Japan-South Korea summit in The Hague.
The tests go against UN resolutions barring Pyongyang from any nuclear or ballistic activity.
Ballistic missile launches by Pyongyang are banned by the United Nations.
Several council diplomats said negotiations on possible council action would likely continue into next week, the Reuters news agency reported.
Earlier on Thursday, a South Korean naval ship fired warning shots and seized a North Korean fishing boat intruding across the disputed Yellow Sea border, officials said.
Nearly 15,000 South Korean and US troops have kicked off a 12-day amphibious landing drill, the largest for two decades.
The joint exercise taking place off the country\’s southeast coast will last until April 7 and involve around 10,000 US troops.