The Latest: China recommits to sanctions on North Korea

August 30, 2017
This Aug. 29, 2017 photo distributed on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017, by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, smiles as Kim inspects the test launch of a Hwasong-12 intermediate range missile in Pyongyang, North Korea. Leader Kim called for more ballistic missile tests targeting the Pacific Ocean, Pyongyang announced Wednesday, a day after his nation for the first time flew a ballistic missile designed to carry a nuclear payload over Japan. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The Latest on North Korea firing a missile over Japan (all times local):

1:50 p.m.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi says his country will “fully and completely” abide by U.N. Security Council sanctions resolutions on North Korea.

Wang told reporters Wednesday China would work with other members of the council on how best to react to North Korea’s launch of a ballistic missile over Japan on Tuesday.

He says, “We will make a necessary response.”

While acknowledging long-standing ties between the Pyongyang and Beijing, Wang says China was compelled to act to guard against further instability. China accounts for around 90 percent of North Korea’s foreign trade and has provided limited diplomatic cover for its actions, despite growing increasingly frustrated at continued provocations.

The latest sanctions hit Chinese businesses hard by way of a ban on North Korean exports of coal, iron, lead and seafood products, together worth over $1 billion for a country with total exports valued at just $3 billion last year.


11:30 a.m.

Officials on Guam say the threat level did not change and people in the U.S. territory were safe after North Korea’s missile launch over Japan and into the northern Pacific Ocean.

The missile tested on Tuesday has an intermediate range that could include Guam, and North Korea previously had threatened to send a volley of such missiles near the island that is a strategic U.S. military hub.

Guam Homeland Security Adviser George Charfauros says in a statement Wednesday the latest “saber-rattling” did not come as a surprise since the country in previous years has increased its rhetoric and threats around annual war games that are currently underway between the U.S. and South Korea.

Guam resident Eddie Cruz said he isn’t too concerned about the latest test, but thinks it’s worrisome that North Korea continues to sharpen its skills. Cruz said, “They’re practicing and that’s exactly what I’m worried about.”


11:05 a.m.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has talked with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe over the phone and denounced the North Korean missile launch he said was “more than just a provocation and a violent act against a neighboring country.”

Moon’s spokesman Park Su-hyun said Wednesday that Moon offered words of consolation for the Japanese public. He says Moon and Abe agreed to stay in close touch and further discuss the North Korean problem in a meeting next month in Vladivostok, Russia.

The liberal Moon has expressed a desire to reach out to North Korea, but has so far failed to make progress. The North has ignored his proposals for talks and continues to conduct missile tests to expand its nuclear weapons program.


8:15 a.m.

North Korea’s state media says leader Kim Jong Un has called for more ballistic missile launches into the Pacific a day after it flew a missile designed to carry a nuclear payload over Japan.

The Korean Central News Agency said Wednesday that Kim expressed great satisfaction with the launch, calling it a “meaningful prelude” to containing Guam, the U.S. Pacific territory and military hub.

The agency says Kim said the country needs to conduct more ballistic missile tests to the Pacific to advance the capabilities of its strategic force.

The agency says the missile the North fired Tuesday was the Hwasong-12 intermediate range missile it recently threatened to fire toward Guam.


7:15 a.m.

North Korea says leader Kim Jong Un was present for a flight test of an intermediate range missile that flew over Japan.

Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency said Wednesday that the missile fired over Japan on Tuesday was the Hwasong-12 intermediate range missile that the North recently threatened to fire into waters near Guam.

The agency says Kim expressed great satisfaction over what the North described as a successful testing and that the North will continue to watch “U.S. demeanors” before it decides on its future actions.


6:20 a.m.

The U.N. Security Council is holding an emergency meeting to discuss how to respond to North Korea’s launch of a ballistic missile over Japan that came less than a month after the council imposed its toughest-yet sanctions on Pyongyang.

Before the closed-door discussion Tuesday evening at U.N. headquarters, ambassadors from several countries said they hoped the council would generate a unified reaction to the missile test and weigh what next steps to take.

Japanese Ambassador Koro Bessho said Japan feels a need to put more pressure on North Korea but would discuss how to do it.

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said “something serious has to happen” but didn’t specify what.

British Ambassador Matthew Rycroft suggested members need to look at further strengthening of sanctions.

North Korea isn’t a council member.


1:33 a.m.

Britain’s prime minister is pledging to join with international partners to pressure North Korea to stop missile tests after a launch over the Japanese island of Hokkaido.

On the eve of a visit to Japan, Prime Minister Theresa May Pyongyang’s missile launch as “reckless provocation.” She will discuss the matter with her counterpart Shinzo Abe.

May says there “will be an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council later this afternoon and we will continue to work with our international partners to put pressure on North Korea to stop these illegal tests.”

May says the visit with Abe will give her a chance to “discuss the action that North Korea has taken.”


11 p.m.

The U.N. Security Council is expected to hold an emergency meeting Tuesday on North Korea’s firing of a ballistic missile over Japan.

The closed-door discussion is expected in the late afternoon or early evening, after a scheduled discussion on peacekeeping.

U.S. and Japanese representatives said they and their South Korean counterparts requested the North Korea discussion. It comes less than a month after the Security Council approved its toughest-yet sanctions on North Korea. They include bans on exporting coal, iron, lead, and fish and seafood products.

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said the council will discuss “what else is left to do.” She said “something serious has to happen,” but didn’t specify what.

North Korea recently requested a Security Council discussion about U.S.-South Korean military drills it considers a rehearsal for invasion.

In a first, North Korea on Tuesday fired a ballistic missile designed to carry a nuclear payload that flew over U.S. ally Japan and splashed into the northern Pacific Ocean.


10 p.m.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is condemning North Korea’s firing of a ballistic missile over Japan, saying it undermines regional security and stability.

Spokeswoman Eri Kaneko released a statement Tuesday from Guterres, who is traveling in the Middle East. It calls on North Korea to comply fully with its international obligations and “work towards reopening communications channels.”

With a series of sanctions, the U.N. Security Council has called for North Korea to suspend all ballistic missile launches and abandon its nuclear weapons. The latest sanctions were approved earlier this month and are the toughest yet.

They include the banning all North Korean exports of coal, iron, lead, and fish and seafood products.

In a first, North Korea on Tuesday fired a ballistic missile designed to carry a nuclear payload that flew over U.S. ally Japan and splashed into the northern Pacific Ocean.


9:30 p.m.

Germany’s foreign minister has condemned North Korea’s latest missile launch ahead of a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and says he will offer support for American diplomatic efforts to nudge the North to return to talks.

Minister Sigmar Gabriel said Tuesday he is dismayed by “how brutally” North Korea is violating U.N. resolutions and international law.

He said in a statement that “it is all the more necessary that the international community rigorously implement the existing sanctions” aimed at making North Korea give up its missile and nuclear program.

Gabriel is meeting Tillerson in Washington later Tuesday.

In a first, North Korea on Tuesday fired a ballistic missile designed to carry a nuclear payload that flew over U.S. ally Japan and splashed into the northern Pacific Ocean.


9:20 p.m.

Poland has condemned North Korea’s firing of a ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear payload and called on its authorities to “stop the provocative tests.”

Poland currently chairs an international body aiming to regulate activity involving ballistic missiles.

The Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that Poland “strongly condemns the missile test” carried out by North Korea and was especially concerned that the missile flew over another country, Japan.

Poland appealed to the authorities in North Korea to “immediately stop the provocative tests” and to abandon its missile program in a “complete, verifiable and irreversible way.”

It said North Korea’s actions were in violation of the “existing international obligations and were a threat to the security and peace in the region.”

Poland currently heads the Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation.


9:15 p.m.

North Korea’s ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva has said defiantly that his country will not “flinch an inch” on the road to building a nuclear force as long as “U.S. hostile policies and nuclear threats continue.”

Hours after North Korea fired a missile over Japan, Ambassador Han Tae Song told a session of the Conference on Disarmament that his country “has every reason to respond with tough countermeasures.”

Han made no direct reference Tuesday to the missile test during the plenary meeting of the U.N. Conference on Disarmament. The United States, South Korea, Japan and many other member states denounced it.

Han repeated North Korea’s criticism of U.S. joint military exercises with South Korea, calling it “a fanatic act of adding fuel to flame.”


9 p.m.

China has urged all countries involved in the nuclear standoff on the Korean Peninsula to show restraint and end a “malicious cycle” of escalating tensions.

Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said increased military pressure from the United States and South Korea has prompted North Korea to respond with more missile tests, which in turn triggered more military pressure on the North.

She said “time has proven that pressure and sanctions cannot solve the root of the problem.”

Hua told a regular daily briefing Tuesday that the only way to solve the standoff is by addressing the legitimate security concerns of all sides in a balanced way through dialogue.

China has proposed that the U.S. and South Korea halt regular joint military exercises, and in return North Korea would freeze its development of nuclear weapons while the two sides hold talks.

In a first, North Korea on Tuesday fired a midrange ballistic missile designed to carry a nuclear payload that flew over U.S. ally Japan and splashed into the northern Pacific Ocean.


8:45 p.m.

President Donald Trump says “all options are on the table” after North Korea launched ballistic missiles over Japan.

Trump said in a written statement Tuesday that “threatening and destabilizing actions” only increase North Korea’s isolation in the region and around the world.

The president said North Korea’s actions show “contempt for its neighbors” and that “all options are on the table” in terms of a U.S. response.

In a first, North Korea on Tuesday fired a midrange ballistic missile designed to carry a nuclear payload that flew over U.S. ally Japan and splashed into the northern Pacific Ocean.


8:40 p.m.

The U.S. ambassador to the U.N.’s forum on disarmament says North Korea’s missile test over Japan is of “great concern” but fits a “pattern” by the reclusive regime.

Robert Wood urged the international community to “speak out early and often” against such saber-rattling by Pyongyang. He was speaking ahead of a plenary meeting of the Conference on Disarmament, also attended by North Korea’s ambassador.

Wood told reporters that “we still need to do further analysis” of the missile firing before commenting fully on its impact.

During Tuesday’s session, envoys from countries including Japan, South Korea and European Union member states condemned North Korea’s firing of the midrange ballistic missile, which is designed to carry a nuclear payload, over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido and into the northern Pacific Ocean.


8:20 p.m.

The foreign ministers of Russia and the United Arab Emirates are both calling for North Korea to obey United Nations resolutions after Pyongyang launched ballistic missiles over Japan.

Sergey Lavrov and his Emirati counterpart, Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, made the comments during a news conference on Tuesday in Abu Dhabi, the oil-rich capital of the UAE.

Lavrov’s trip was to focus in part on the ongoing diplomatic crisis between Qatar and Arab states now boycotting it. But that never came up before the journalists.

Lavrov said that “North Korea should respect the United Nations.”

Sheikh Abdullah said that “the situation cannot continue to escalate between North Korea on one side and Japan and South Korea on the other. North Korea cannot continue to disregard the U.N. Security Council resolutions and the U.N.’s call to stop its provocations.”


7:35 p.m.

French President Emmanuel Macron is calling for a tough international stance against North Korea after its latest missile launch to push it toward negotiations.

In a diplomatic speech in Paris, Macron expressed support for Japan in its concern over the missile fired over Japanese territory Tuesday.

Macron urged “intransigent” policies toward Pyongyang to avoid further escalation, and said France is ready to do “everything possible ... to bring Pyongyang to the table.” He did not elaborate.

The North Korean midrange ballistic missile fired Tuesday was designed to carry a nuclear payload and sends a clear message of defiance as Washington and Seoul conduct war games nearby.


2 p.m.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he had a 40-minute phone chat with President Donald Trump in which they analyzed North Korea’s latest missile launch and what action to take.

Abe said in a statement, “Japan’s and the U.S. positions are totally at one.”

Both nations were in “total agreement” that an emergency meeting was needed at the U.N. Security Council to step up pressures on North Korea after what he called an unprecedented threat

Abe also said “President Trump expressed his strong commitment to defending Japan, saying he was 100 percent with Japan as an ally.”

Abe reiterated he believes that stepping up pressure on North Korea is needed.


12:30 p.m.

Indonesia, one of the few nations to have decades of cordial relations with North Korea, has condemned its launch of a missile that flew over Japan. The Philippines, this year’s chairman of meetings of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, has also expressed grave concern, urging Pyongyang to halt such provocative actions.

Indonesia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs says the missile test is inconsistent with North Korea’s international obligations. It urged North Korea to abide by U.N. resolutions condemning its ballistic missile launches and nuclear weapons development.

“Stability on the Korean peninsula is very important,” the ministry says.

Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano called on North Korea to halt provocative actions.

Cayetano said ASEAN and the Philippines as its chair this year remain committed to peaceful resolution of conflict but that “provocations such as this latest missile launch should stop to help us put in place an environment that would be conducive to dialogue.”


11:45 a.m.

South Korea has released footage of its own missile tests it says were conducted last week in a response to the latest North Korean missile launch.

The South Korean military said Tuesday it conducted three flight tests of two types of new missiles with ranges of 800 kilometers (497 miles) and 500 kilometers (310 miles) on Aug. 24 and that the missiles were close to being operationally deployed.

The military released footage of the tests of the longer-range missile that showed the missile being fired from a truck-mounted launcher and hitting a land-based target.

South Korea hasn’t officially named the missile yet, but it is tentatively called the Hyunmoo-2C.

The missile is considered a key component to the so-called “kill chain” pre-emptive strike capability the South is pursuing to cope with the North’s growing nuclear and missile threat.


10:50 a.m.

Residents on the northernmost Japanese island of Hokkaido were warned of a North Korean missile launch by a “J-Alert” on their cellphones, with loud alarms and an email that told people to stay indoors.

The system also is designed to kick in an automated voice repeating the warnings on area loudspeakers.

Hironori Matsuura, an official in the coastal town of Erimo, said the phone alarm worked but not the 50 speakers in the town.

Matsuura said people were stunned as this is the first time a North Korea missile is believed to have flown over Hokkaido. The town, which has about 4,800 residents, is checking on what went wrong with the speaker system.

“We all woke up,” he said. “But there are no reports of any damage, and no one had to evacuate.”

Hokkaido prefectural official Hirofumi Tsujii said J-Alert was set off throughout the prefecture, and officials were checking on malfunction reports.


10:30 a.m.

South Korea says its air force conducted a live-fire drill in response to the latest North Korean missile launch.

Seoul’s presidential spokesman Park Su-hyun said Tuesday that four F-15 fighters dropped eight MK-84 bombs that accurately hit targets at a military field near South Korea’s eastern coast.

The country’s air force says a MK-84 bomb has an explosive yield of a ton.

Park says national security director Chung Eui-yong called President Donald Trump’s national security adviser H.R. McMaster to discuss the North’s launch early Tuesday morning.