‘It cannot be business as usual’: US calls for tough sanctions against Kim Jong Un’s rogue state after North Korea launches long-range rocket
- North Korea has launched a long-range rocket over Japan, Pentagon says
- Rocket flew over Okinawa from a site in the west of the secretive state
- US and allies Japan and South Korea called for tough sanctions
- U.S. Ambassador: ‘It cannot be business as usual’
- Japanese PM Shinzo Abe said he would ‘take action’ against North Korea
- John Kerry called the rocket launch ‘a major provocation’
- But China remains reluctant to impose economic measures
- North Korea claims the launch ‘legitimately exercises the right to use space for independent and peaceful purposes’
The U.S., backed by its Western allies, Japan and South Korea, has called for tough sanctions reflecting Kim’s defiance of the Security Council, after North Korea hailed the launching of its long-range rocket over Japan as an ‘epochal event’.
North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un went ahead with the launch just two hours after an eight-day window opened early Sunday, and a month after the country’s fourth nuclear test.
He ignored an appeal from China, its neighbor and important ally, not to proceed and in another slap to Beijing, he chose the eve of the Chinese New Year, the country’s most important holiday.
But diplomats say China, the North’s key protector in the council, is reluctant to impose economic measures that could cause North Korea’s economy to collapse.
The 15-member Security Council strongly condemned the launch and pledged to ‘expeditiously’ adopt a new resolution with ‘further significant measures’ – U.N. code for sanctions.
The word ‘robust’ referring to the measures was in an initial draft, but was dropped in the final statement.
U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power told reporters that ‘it cannot be business as usual’ after two successive North Korean acts that are ‘hostile and illegal.’
‘What’s important is that the Security Council unites,’ Power said. ‘China is a critical player. … We are hopeful that China, like all council members, will see the grave threat to regional and international peace and security, see the
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