Fri Apr 7, 2017 5:33AM
Members of the United Nations Security Council meet at UN headquarters in New York City, April 5, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Members of the United Nations Security Council meet at UN headquarters in New York City, April 5, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

The United Nations has condemned North Korea’s latest missile launch, and the Japanese government has extended unilateral sanctions against Pyongyang by two years over the same matter.

The United Nations Security Council on Thursday condemned North Korea’s Wednesday ballistic missile launch and demanded a halt to all missile tests by Pyongyang.

All 15 members of the UNSC stressed that the recent missile test was in violation of the UN sanctions already in place against Pyongyang and significantly increased tensions “in the region and beyond.”

In a statement, the UN body described the conducting of missile tests by Pyongyang as “highly destabilizing behavior.”

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In a related development, the Japanese government decided to extend its own unilateral sanctions against North Korea by two years over the test launch.

Japan’s Kyodo News agency reported that Tokyo would continue its prohibition of all trade between Japan and North Korea for two more years and ban all North Korean ships from entering Japanese ports.

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The US and its regional allies, South Korea and Japan, have been holding regular joint military exercises on the Korean Peninsula to counter perceived threats from the North.

Pyongyang has repeatedly condemned the military drills as provocative action and rehearsals for an invasion.

The “reckless actions” are driving the tense situation on the Korean Peninsula “to the brink of a war,” a North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman was quoted as saying by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

Despite a long standing ceasefire, North and South Koreas are still technically at war.

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US President Donald Trump (R) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) shake hands at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago luxury resort in Florida, April 6, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

The US recently said it would take possible unilateral action against Pyongyang if China, the North’s main ally, failed to help pressure Pyongyang into abandoning its nuclear and possibly missile programs.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump is hosting China’s President Xi Jinping at his Florida resort. The two leaders are to exchange their views on bilateral issues and discuss world matters, likely including North Korea and Syria.

The US on Friday fired missiles at a military base in Syria, and Trump has suggested such military action could be a signal to North Korea as well.