China Condemns North Korea’s Missile Test but Urges Restraint
China has criticized North Korea's latest missile test but also called for relevant parties to exercise restrain ahead of an urgent United Nations Security Council's (UN) meeting on Monday. Pyongyang's latest missile test was the first this year and also first since U.S. President Donald Trump assumed the office.
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"Every party should exercise restraint and jointly safeguard the regional peace and stability," China's foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters, adding that Beijing "will take a constructive and responsible part in the relevant discussion."
"The root cause of the (North Korean) nuclear missile issue is its differences with the U.S. and South Korea," Geng said.
Barely hours after North Korea carried out the missile test on Sunday, Japan called on China to exert more pressure on its communist counterpart. Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga described the missile test as "an act of provocation" and stated that the test was deliberately timed to coincide with Trump's meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
South Korea and the U.S. also joined in condemning North Korea's latest ballistic missile test. As a retaliatory measure, both countries may now speed-up the impending deployment of the THAAD missile near the North Korean border.
North Korea's state-owned KCNA news agency reported that the missile fired on Sunday was 'Pukguksong-2' and boasted that the test was overseen by its leader Kim Jong Un.
A U.S. official said that the missile traveled nearly 500 kilometers (310 miles) before landing in the Sea of Japan, also popularly known as the East Sea.
The urgent UN meeting that has been called by the U.S., Japan, and South Korea may lay the groundwork for imposing additional sanctions on North Korea. The UN imposed a host of economic sanctions last year in response to several tests conducted by the isolated communist country.
According to reports, the Trump administration may increase the heat on China to engage with Pyongyang and convince its communist neighbor to give up on its controversial missile program. Trump has accused China of not doing enough on the North Korea issue.