WASHINGTON (AP) — North Korea’s first test of an intercontinental ballistic missile, demonstrating a dangerous new reach for weapons it hopes to top with nuclear warheads one day, is spurring U.S. demands for “global action” to counter the threat.
U.S. officials confirmed Tuesday their belief that North Korea’s latest missile launch was indeed an ICBM and joined South Korea and Japan in requesting an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council, scheduled Wednesday afternoon. Previously, North Korea had demonstrated missiles of short and medium range but never one able to get to the United States.
In a show of force directly responding to North Korea’s provocation, U.S. and South Korean soldiers fired “deep strike” precision missiles into South Korean territorial waters on Tuesday, U.S. military officials in Seoul said. The missile firings demonstrated U.S.-South Korean solidarity, the U.S. Eighth Army said in a statement.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson vowed “stronger measures to hold the DPRK accountable,” using an acronym for the isolated nation’s formal name, and said: “Global action is required to stop a global threat.” Any country helping North Korea militarily or economically, taking in its guest workers or falling short on Security Council resolutions, he said, “is aiding and abetting a dangerous regime.”
Tillerson’s statement, issued Tuesday evening as most Americans were celebrating the Fourth of July holiday, notably did not mention China, whose help the Trump administration has been aggressively seeking to press Pyongyang over its nuclear weapons program.