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UN Condemns N. Korea Missile Launch


North Korean leader Kim Jong Un watches a long range rocket launch into the air in North Korea, in this photo released by Kyodo, Feb. 7, 2016. (REUTERS/Kyodo)

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un watches a long range rocket launch into the air in North Korea, in this photo released by Kyodo, Feb. 7, 2016. (REUTERS/Kyodo)

The United Nations Security Council strongly condemned North Korea’s launch of a long-range rocket at an emergency meeting on Sunday.

All 15 council members, including China, approved the statement. The members pledged to quickly adopt a new resolution with “significant” new sanctions against North Korea.

After the meeting, U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said the resolution must include “unprecedented measures.”

China’s Ambassador Liu Jieyi, however, said the new resolution should reduce tension, work towards de-nuclearization, maintain peace and encourage a “negotiated solution.”

China is a permanent member of the UN Security Council. It can stop council resolutions from being approved. China must support any sanctions if they are to be effective, because China gives large amounts of economic aid to North Korea.

Motohide Yoshikawa, left, Japan's ambassador to the United Nations, talks with Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador, following a Security Council meeting at U.N. headquarters, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016.

Motohide Yoshikawa, left, Japan's ambassador to the United Nations, talks with Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador, following a Security Council meeting at U.N. headquarters, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016.

Since 2006, the council has approved increasingly stronger economic restrictions on North Korea for its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles tests.

North Korea said the rocket was carrying a satellite. It was launched early Sunday morning near the northwestern border with China.

The North said the launch is part of its peaceful space program to send satellites into orbit. But many experts said the space program is being used to hide its tests of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles systems.

The U.S. Congress is also considering measures to target companies and banks that trade with North Korea. Many of them are in China.

South Korea and U.S. will discuss missile defense

Meanwhile, South Korea and the U.S. announced a plan to begin talks on deploying a missile-defense system.

A joint statement by the militaries of the two countries said they will meet to talk about the possibility of sending the system to South Korea and begin operating it “at the earliest possible date."

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reacts as he watches a long range rocket launch in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang, Feb. 7, 2016.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reacts as he watches a long range rocket launch in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang, Feb. 7, 2016.

Yoo Jeh-Seung is South Korea’s deputy defense minister. He said the system would strengthen “the missile defense of the Korea-U.S. alliance.” Yoo said the alliance is considering deploying the system because of the North Korean rocket launch. He said the North has refused to talk about removing nuclear weapons from the peninsula.

He spoke during a meeting with Lieutenant General Thomas Vandal, the commander of the U.S. Eighth Army in South Korea.

The missile defense is known as THAAD. The system is carried on trucks and can fire rockets than can destroy ballistic missiles “inside or outside the atmosphere.”

Three years ago, when South Korea talked about deploying it, China said it threatened its security. On Sunday, China again criticized the plan to discuss a possible deployment of the THAAD missile defense system.

A foreign ministry spokesman said China is, in her words, “deeply concerned” that the system may soon operate in South Korea. She said the system would increase tensions on the Korean peninsula and in the area.

I’m Jonathan Evans.

VOA’s Margaret Besheer at the U.N. and Brian Padden and Youmi Kim in Seoul reported this story. Christopher Jones-Cruise adapted the reports into VOA Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.

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Words in This Story

atmosphere – n. the whole mass of air that surrounds the Earth

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