Apec leaders condemn N.Korean missile launch

Apec leaders condemn N.Korean missile launch

ICBM lands in Japanese maritime economic zone, prompting emergency talks at Bangkok summit

A man reacts as television news shows file footage of a North Korean missile test, at a railway station in Seoul on Friday. A suspected ICBM launched by North Korea on Friday is believed to have landed in Japan's exclusive economic waters. (Photo: AFP)
A man reacts as television news shows file footage of a North Korean missile test, at a railway station in Seoul on Friday. A suspected ICBM launched by North Korea on Friday is believed to have landed in Japan's exclusive economic waters. (Photo: AFP)

Leaders of the United States, South Korea, Japan and allied countries held an emergency meeting during the Apec summit in Bangkok on Friday and condemned North Korea’s firing of a suspected intercontinental ballistic missile, calling for a united response.

The missile, which landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) about 200 kilometres off Hokkaido, was capable of reaching the mainland United States, Japanese officials said.

Meeting on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders’ gathering in Bangkok, US Vice President Kamala Harris called the launch a “brazen violation” of multiple United Nations resolutions and said North Korea’s actions were destablising for security in the region.

South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo said the North’s activities were illegal and “will never be tolerated”, calling for a united front and a resolute response.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said such launches were occurring with “unprecedented high frequency” lately.

“There is the possibly that North Korea will launch further missiles,” he warned.

The incident came a day after a smaller missile launch by the North and its warning of “fiercer military responses” to the US boosting its regional security presence.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said North Korea’s move needed to be condemned “by all regions around the world”, while Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese said the missile launches were “reckless actions”.

“We stand with the world, and indeed with our allies, in opposing and condemning this action in the strongest possible terms,” Albanese said.

“And we stand ready to be part of a global response to this.”

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she acknowledged the “anxiety, the deep concern, the security threat” felt in Japan and South Korea.

Kishida earlier called the launch “absolutely unacceptable”, while saying there had been no reports of damage to ships or aircraft.

“The ballistic missile launched by North Korea is believed to have landed in our EEZ (exclusive economic zone) west of Hokkaido,” Kishida told reporters in Bangkok.

The EEZ extends up to 200 nautical miles from Japan’s coastline, beyond the limits of its territorial waters. The Japanese defence ministry had earlier said the missile was “ICBM-class”.

“We made a stern protest to North Korea. They’re repeating provocative actions with unprecedented frequency. We strongly state again that this is absolutely unacceptable,” Kishida said.

“Japan, the US and South Korea must coordinate closely to work toward the complete denuclearisation of North Korea.”

On Thursday evening, Kishida said he had expressed “serious concerns” to Chinese President Xi Jinping about security issues including North Korea in their first face-to-face talks.

“On North Korea, I expressed our expectation that China will play a role, including in the UN security council,” he told reporters. 


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