Obama accuses North Korea of "provocation" following missile test

US President Barack Obama on Sunday accused North Korea of "provocation" following reports of renewed missile testing by the isolated country.

While the United States lacked precise information on the latest tests, they were being "taken very seriously," Obama said in the German city of Hanover following talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel.

"What is clear is that North Korea continues to engage in continuous provocative behavior, that they have been actively pursuing a nuclear programme, an ability to launch nuclear weapons," he said.

"And although more often than not they fail in many of these tests, they gain knowledge each time they engage in these tests," Obama said.

On Saturday, North Korea fired what was believed to be a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) in the Sea of Japan. Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un gave the order for it to be fired, the North's KCNA news agency reported, calling the test a success.

South Korea said the launch failed because the missile only flew for about 30 kilometres, whereas the minimum range for an SLBM is 300 kilometres, Yonhap news agency reported.

Obama called on China, North Korea's neighbour, to apply pressure on Pyongyang to halt the tests and said the US aimed to ensure the security of its allies in the region, South Korea and Japan.

"What is clear is that North Korea is continuing to engage in provocative behavior," Obama said. "If North Korea shows seriousness in denuclearizing the Korean peninsula, then we will be ready to engage in serious conversations with them to reduce tensions."

The UN Security Council issued a statement Sunday strongly condemning the firing of the ballistic missile.

"This incident constituted yet another serious violation by [North Korea] of United Nations Security Council resolutions," the statement said, citing five resolutions passed in 2006, 2009, 2013 and this year.

The council said North Korea's development and testing of newballistic missile capabilities were clearly prohibited by the resolutions even if launches fail.

Last update: Sun, 21/08/2016 - 12:53
Author: 

More from World

EU starts "new era" of NATO cooperation amid uncertainty over Trump

NATO foreign ministers signed a deal on closer collaboration with the European Union on Tuesday, with the bloc's top...

Trump threatens to cancel orders for new Air Force One planes

US President-elect Donald Trump threatened Tuesday to cancel the planned purchase of new presidential planes because...

Regime forces advance rapidly in eastern Aleppo enclave

Syrian regime forces have advanced rapidly inside eastern Aleppo, seizing at least one major district and bringing...

Ugandan warlord charged with atrocities tells ICC he was a victim

One of the senior commanders of a Ugandan militia that has been blamed for tens of thousands of deaths portrayed...

South Africa's appeals court overturns ruling allowing euthanasia

South Africa's Supreme Court of Appeal on Tuesday overturned a ruling by a lower court granting a terminally ill...