UN condemns N Korea 'unacceptable' missile launches

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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un looks at a rocket warhead tip after a simulated test of atmospheric re-entry of a ballistic missileImage source, Reuters

The UN Security Council has strongly condemned the "unacceptable" recent ballistic missile launches by North Korea.

In an unanimous statement, it said the launches "constituted a clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions".

It comes after the North test-fired two medium-range ballistic missiles, in the latest in a series of rocket launches.

Two weeks ago, the Security Council imposed its toughest sanctions to date on North Korea.

The measures were introduced after Pyongyang carried out its fourth nuclear test and fired a rocket that was widely seen as a disguised ballistic missile test.

The statement, which was backed by Pyongyang's ally China, also ordered the North to refrain from further actions that violate UN resolutions.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the latest firings were "deeply troubling" and urged Pyongyang to halt "these inflammatory and escalatory actions", his spokesman said.

US officials said the medium-range missiles, launched off the east coast, flew about 800km (500 miles) before falling into the water.

Ban also called on North Korea to comply with UN resolutions that bar the country from developing missile technology.

Image source, Reuters

Earlier this week, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ordered multiple ballistic missile launches and a nuclear warhead test.

Meanwhile, the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University suggested that North Korea could carry out another nuclear test at any time.

The think-tank said that satellite imagery from Pyongyang's main testing site in Punggye-ri showed increased activity in the area, AFP news agency reported.