North Korea sent a mid-range missile over Japan on Thursday, after threatening to sink the country “into the sea”. The launch marked the isolated country’s longest missile flight to date, and yet another sign of its advancing military capabilities.
“In East Asia, an increasingly aggressive and isolated regime in North Korea threatens democracies in South Korea, Japan, and more importantly, and more recently, has expanded those threats to the United States, endangering the entire world,” Mr Tillerson said, according to Reuters.
The North has continued to push forward with military tests, despite increasing international outcry. Earlier this month, Pyongyang conducted its sixth-ever test of a nuclear bomb. The country has also tested intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of hitting the US mainland.
The Security Council passed its most stringent sanctions ever against North Korea this week, in an attempt to deter its nuclear programme. On Friday, Mr Tillerson called the sanctions “the floor, not the ceiling, of the actions we should take”.
The US is now calling for further restrictions on the country’s oil imports, and a ban on foreign work permits for North Korean citizens.
Mr Tillerson pushed China and Russia – both of which have opposed stringent sanctions on the country – to “indicate their intolerance for these reckless missile launches by taking direct actions of their own”.
Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, told reporters that Russia “resolutely condemns” the missile test, adding that it will “lead to the further growth of tensions and the further escalation of tensions on the [Korean] peninsula”.
China’s foreign ministry, however, urged the parties involved not to inflame a “complex, sensitive and severe” situation. Spokeswoman Hua Chunying attempted to take some diplomatic pressure off of China, claiming the parties directly involved should be responsible for resolving the situation.
“Any attempt to wash their hands of the issue is irresponsible and unhelpful for its resolution,” she said.
The Security Council planned to meet later on Friday to discuss next steps. Mr…