UN Security Council to meet Tuesday on North Korea missile launches

Officials say North Korea did not give any warning prior to the launch. They landed in the Sea of Japan 125 to 155 miles west of Hokkaido, the northernmost of Japan's main islands, the Japanese Ministry of Defense said. President Barack Obama was in China meeting with the leaders of France and Germany around the time of the launch, according to The Associated Press.

Xi and Park held 40-minute talks on the sidelines of the Group of G20 summit which has taken place for two days on September 4 and 5 in Hangzhou of China's Zhejiang Province.

This is similar to previous reactions on the part of South Korea when North Korea launched missiles in the past.

North Korea has conducted a series of missile tests this year in defiance of United Nations sanctions imposed after its fourth nuclear test in January.

The submarine-based ballistic missile launch last month prompted even sharper expressions of concern. The THAAD, system devised by the United States military to shoot down short-, medium- and intermediate range ballistic missiles, seeks to consolidate the hegemony in the Asia-Pacific region, according to experts and much of the global community.

The missile launches came less than two weeks after the DPRK test-launched a ballistic missile from a submarine on August 24 that also landed in Japan's air defense identification zone.

White House National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said that USA officials were "closely monitoring these latest provocations".

Earlier Monday, South Korean President Park Geun-hye met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and told him that the North's nuclear and missile programs threaten regional peace as well as bilateral ties between their two countries, the Yonhap news agency reported.

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Seoul's military said Monday's test-launches were an apparent armed protest to maintain military tensions on the Korean Peninsula by showing off its nuclear and missile capabilities ahead of the National Day holiday.

Cautious optimism is emerging for South Korea-China relations following a critical summit between its leaders Monday as the neighbors try to move beyond the strain caused by the planned deployment of a US anti-missile system on the Korean Peninsula, analysts said.

After the launch, South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe discussed the incident privately "and agreed to cooperate on monitoring the situation".

North Korea has a track-record of provocations around this important date for the regime.

This time, the missile reached a tremendous distance from the Sea of Japan, officials say.

That North Korean leader Kim-Jong un would choose to conduct a provocative missile launch this weekend was a foregone conclusion for many North Korean analysts.

During the summit, Mr Xi reiterated Beijing's opposition to Seoul's planned deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (Thaad) system, arguing that "mishandling" the issue could "intensify disputes" in the region, China's state-run Xinhua news agency said.

South Korea announced the deployment of the missile system in July but it is not yet in operation.

  • Sonia Alvarado