By Ellise Nicholls
North Korea has said that a test to launch a medium-to-long-range ballistic missile was a success.
China quickly voiced opposition, rejecting criticism that it could do more to steer the regime away from the goal of developing a nuclear weapon capable of striking US mainland.
The test on Sunday coincided with U.S. President Donald Trump’s summit with Shinzo Abe, the Japanese prime minister forcing the two leaders to agree on an ad hoc response after their round of golf in Florida.
Geng Shuang, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, said: “All sides should exercise restraint and jointly maintain regional peace and security.”
He told reporters in Beijing that China would take part in UN security talks with a “responsible and constructive attitude”.
The Chinese Communist Party newspaper has said the U.S. demands for Beijing to intervene and pressure Pyongyang into the abandonment of its nuclear and missile programmers were pointless, unless Washington was to examine its own role in current tensions in North Korea.
Japan and South Korea have requested urgent diplomatic talks at the United Nations to discuss the launch.
The UN Mission for Ukraine, which holds the rotating security council presidency, said closed consultations will take place late Monday afternoon.
The Russian foreign ministry described the launch as “another defiant disregard” for UN security council resolutions, and a cause for “regret and concern”.
Trump adminsitrations has promised to take a tough stance against Pyongyang, but on Sunday, President Trump said that the US stood “100%” by Japan, its ally.
Stephen Miller, Trump’s senior policy adviser, said the president and Abe had displayed “an important show of solidarity” between their nations.
“The message we’re sending to the world right now is a message of strength and solidarity. We stand with Japan and we stand with our allies in the region to address the North Korean menace,” Miller said in an interview with ABC’s This Week.
North Korea’s state-run KCNA news agency said Kim Jong-un, the country’s leader, had personally overseen the launch of the Pukguksong-2missile, which flew for approximately 500km before landing in the sea between the Korean peninsula and Japan. KCNA said the missile was a strategic weapon capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.
Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics said North Korean claims about the missile’s were “a very concerning development”.