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U.S. 'strongly condemns' N. Korea's missile launches

2016/06/22 11:17

WASHINGTON, June 21 (Yonhap) -- The United States strongly condemned North Korea's missile launches Tuesday, saying it will raise the issue at the U.N. Security Council to hold the communist nation accountable for the provocative actions.

"We strongly condemn these and North Korea's other recent missile tests, which violate U.N. Security Council Resolutions explicitly prohibiting North Korea's launches using ballistic missile technology," State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement.

"These provocations only serve to increase the international community's resolve to counter the DPRK's prohibited activities, including through implementing existing U.N. Security Council sanctions," he said. "We intend to raise our concerns at the U.N. to bolster the international resolve in holding the DPRK accountable for these provocative actions."

   Kirby also said that the U.S. commitment to the defense of South Korea and Japan "remains ironclad."

   "We remain prepared to defend ourselves and our allies from any attack or provocation," he said. "We call on North Korea to refrain from actions that further raise tensions in the region and focus instead on taking concrete steps toward fulfilling its commitments and international obligations."

   Earlier in the day the North launched what appeared to be two Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missiles (IRBMs) from its east coast in the fifth and sixth test of the missile believed to be capable of reaching the U.S. territory of Guam.

The U.S. Strategic Command confirmed the launches.

"U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) systems detected and tracked what we assess were two North Korean missile launches at 3:56 p.m. CDT and 6:03 p.m. CDT, June 21," STRATCOM said in a statement. "The launch of two presumed Musudan intermediate range ballistic missiles occurred at Wonsan. The missiles were tracked over the Sea of Japan, where initial indications are they fell."

   The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) determined the missile launches from North Korea did not pose a threat to North America, according to the statement.