US, Japan, South Korea, condemn North Korean missile launch in joint statement


(Reuters) – North Korea’s firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) this week violates multiple U.N. resolutions and threatens peace and stability in the region, the United States, South Korea, and Japan said on Friday in a joint statement condemning the launch.

The missile, fired off North Korea’s east coast on Wednesday, flew for 74 minutes to an altitude of 6,000 km (3,728 miles) and a range of 1,000 km, according to Japan, in what would be the longest-ever flight time for a North Korean missile.

“This constitutes a clear, flagrant violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions and poses a grave threat to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and beyond,” the top foreign officials of U.S., South Korea, and Japan said in the joint statement.

The countries urged North Korea “to cease its unlawful and escalatory actions and promptly return to dialogue,” the statement added.

The officials – U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and Foreign Minister Park Jin of South Korea – met on the sidelines on the sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Friday.

Blinken reaffirmed the United States’ “ironclad commitments” to the defense of Japan and South Korea in that meeting, according to a separate statement from the U.S. State Department.

North Korea’s “continued development of its nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities will only bolster the resolve of the three countries and the international community to achieve the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” the joint statement released after the meeting said.

The launch came after heated complaints from North Korea in recent days, accusing American spy planes of flying over its exclusive economic zone waters, condemning a recent visit to South Korea by an American nuclear-powered cruise missile submarine, and vowing to take steps in reaction.

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