The United States has asked for an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council following North Korea’s claim that it successfully test-launched its first intercontinental ballistic missile.
The U.S. Mission to the United Nations said Ambassador Nikki Haley requested the meeting on Tuesday afternoon. The mission said it is expected to take place Wednesday afternoon.
“The United States strongly condemns North Korea’s launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said. “Testing an ICBM represents a new escalation of the threat the the United States, our allies and partners, the region, and the world.”
The test launch would be a potential game-changing development in what may be the world’s most dangerous nuclear standoff and a direct rebuke to U.S. President Donald Trump’s earlier declaration that such a test “won’t happen!”
Trump has tweeted about North Korea’s latest ballistic missile launch.
He wrote in two consecutive tweets: “Does this guy have anything better to do with his life? Hard to believe that South Korea and Japan will put up with this much longer. Perhaps China will put a heavy move on North Korea and end this nonsense once and for all!”
The launch appeared to be North Korea’s most successful missile test yet. A U.S. scientist examining the height and distance said the missile could potentially be powerful enough to reach Alaska.
Russia and China have proposed that North Korea declare a moratorium on nuclear and missile tests while the United States and South Korea refrain from large-scale military exercises.
The call was issued in a joint statement by the Russian and Chinese foreign ministries on Tuesday following talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Moscow and Beijing suggested that if North Korea halts nuclear and missile tests while the U.S. and South Korea freeze military maneuvers, the parties could sit down for talks that should lead to obligations not to use force and to refrain from aggression.