Aug 30, 2017

Asia-Pacific gov'ts condemn N. Korea's latest missile launch

TOKYO - Several governments in the Asia-Pacific region condemned Tuesday North Korea's ballistic missile launch, urging the North to give up its missile and nuclear development ambitions and the international community to ramp up pressure on Pyongyang.

Australia "strongly condemns" the missile launch, which poses an "unacceptable threat to peace and stability in our region," Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said in a joint statement.

The launch "represents a serious escalation by Pyongyang" and constitutes "a provocative and threatening act by a dangerous regime," according to the statement.

They said that Australia urges all nations to "fully implement" U.N. Security Council resolutions to pressure North Korea, and also calls on China and Russia to "use their bilateral economic leverage over Pyongyang to persuade" the North to give up its missile and nuclear weapons programs.

Banned by the United Nations, Pyongyang's testing of nuclear and ballistic missile technology is the subject of multiple international sanctions.

Indonesia, Taiwan and the Philippines also joined the chorus of condemnation and "grave concern" over the missile test-firing.

Indonesia "condemns the (latest) missile launch, which is against U.N. Security Council resolutions," Arrmanatha Nasir, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, told Kyodo News. Nasir said North Korea is urged to "fulfill" its obligation to implement the resolutions.

Taiwan Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Eleanor Wang urged Pyongyang to "stop immediately" any action undermining regional security and comply with the resolutions.

Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, whose country holds the rotating chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, said in a statement that the Philippines and ASEAN want to peacefully resolve the conflict.

"While we are ready to do our part, provocations such as this latest missile launch should stop" to help put in place an "environment that would be conducive for dialogue," Cayetano said.

Meanwhile, the office of Guam Homeland Security and Civil Defense in the U.S. territory of Guam in the western Pacific said in its statement that it will "continue to monitor the situation" following Tuesday's missile launch, which was "determined not to be a threat to Guam."

Guam was on alert after North Korea threatened earlier this month to fire missiles toward the territory.




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