The request for a special session on North Korea came from the
United States, council diplomats told Reuters on condition of
anonymity on Wednesday. The meeting of the 15-nation council was
scheduled for 4:30 p.m. EDT (2030 GMT) on Thursday.
The U.N. mission of Luxembourg, which holds the presidency of the
Security Council this month, announced on its Twitter feed that U.N.
political affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman would brief council members
on developments on the Korean peninsula during the session.
In what appeared to be a show of defiance, North Korea fired two
medium-range Rodong ballistic missiles into the sea at 2:35 a.m.
Japan and Korea time, both Tokyo and Seoul said.
North Korea's first firing in four years of mid-range Rodong
missiles that can hit Japan followed a series of short-range rocket
launches over the past two months.
In Seoul, South Korean Defence Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok
called the launches "a clear violation of U.N. Security Council
resolutions and a grave provocation against South Korea and the
international community". South Korea is a temporary member of the
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's press office issued a statement
condemning the latest missile launch.
"Such launches are contrary to building trust in the region. The
Secretary-General urges the DPRK (North Korea) to cease its
ballistic missile activities and focus, together with other
countries concerned, on the dialogue and diplomacy necessary to
maintain regional peace and security," the statement said.
China, North Korea's traditional ally and most significant trading
partner, responded in more muted tones on Thursday.
"In the present situation, all sides ought to dedicate themselves to
maintaining peace and stability on the Korean peninsula," Foreign
Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a regular briefing.
Council diplomats said Washington was expected to propose a Security
Council statement that would condemn the missile firings. It was not
clear whether China, Pyongyang's protector on the council, would
support such a condemnation, though it has been willing to back
rebukes of Pyongyang in the past.
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Deputy U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said on Tuesday,
"We are closely coordinating with our allies and partners, including
in the U.N. Security Council, to take the appropriate measures in
response to this latest provocation and to address the threat to
global security posed by the DPRK's nuclear and ballistic missile
There is also a possibility, the diplomats said, of the Security
Council's North Korea sanctions committee eventually expanding the
current U.N. blacklist to include additional North Korean entities
involved in Pyongyang's missile program.
Expansion of the blacklist would take more time and was not expected
to be decided on Thursday, the diplomats said.
"The council should condemn North Korea and begin looking at
additional measures against the North Koreans," a Western diplomat
According to diplomats, ballistic missile launches are banned under
U.N. Security Council resolutions adopted in response to North
Korea's 2006 and 2009 nuclear tests and subsequent rocket firings.
The council expanded its existing sanctions after Pyongyang's
February 2013 atomic test.
The council imposed a series of U.N. sanctions on Pyongyang that
target the country's missile and nuclear programs and attempt to
punish North Korea's reclusive leadership through a ban on luxury
(Reporting by Louis Charbonneau; additional reporting by Ben
Blanchard in Beijing; editing by Toni Reinhold, Bernard Orr and
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