United Nations, July 5: The UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting today after North Korea said it had successfully tested its first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), diplomats said.
The United States - which confirmed it was an ICBM launch by N Korea, backed by Japan and South Korea, requested the urgent meeting that is scheduled for 3 pm.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un oversaw the launch of the Hwasong-14 missile which experts say is capable of reaching Alaska.
North Korea's Academy of Defence Science said it reached an altitude of 2,802 kilometers (1,741 miles) and flew 933 kilometers. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly condemned the launch, warning that it "constitutes a dangerous escalation of the situation.
"US Pacific Command confirmed the test and said it was a land-based, intermediate-range missile that flew for 37 minutes before splashing down in the Sea of Japan. It said the launch did not pose a threat to North America. But US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson later confirmed the missile launched was an ICBM.
The launch came as Americans prepared to mark Independence Day, prompting President Donald Trump to urge China to act to "end this nonsense once and for all.
"US Ambassador Nikki Haley yesterday spoke by phone with China's Ambassador Liu Jieyi, who holds the council presidency this month, to convey the US request for an urgent meeting, diplomats said. Guterres stressed the importance of having united approach to addressing the North Korean crisis. China, Pyongyang's main ally, is pushing for talks between world powers and North Korea on dismantling the nuclear program.
The United States maintains the Pyongyang must first halt its missile launches and nuclear test. North Korea is barred under UN resolutions from developing missile and nuclear technology.
The Security Council adopted two sanctions resolutions last year to ramp up pressure on Pyongyang and last month added 14 North Korean officials and four entities to the sanctions blacklist.
(with agency reports)