The United States has called for tougher international sanctions against North Korea at the UN Security Council, accusing Pyongyang of "increasingly dangerous provocations" after it test-fired its largest-ever intercontinental ballistic missile.
At a meeting convened to discuss North Korea, US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said: "The United States calls on all member states to fully implement the existing Security Council resolutions.
"Because of DPRK's increasingly dangerous provocations, the United States will be introducing a... Security Council resolution to update and strengthen the sanctions regime," that was adopted in December 2017, she said, using the official acronym for North Korea.
Ms Thomas-Greenfield said: "At the time, the council decided we would take further action in the event of a DPRK ICBM launch.
"This is precisely what happened. So now is the time to take that action."
The unanimously adopted text was voted on a month after North Korea fired its last previous intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the Hwasong-15, which was deemed powerful enough to reach the continental United States.
Following yesterday's meeting, a group of 15 nations, including permanent Security Council members France, the US, and the UK - but minus China and Russia - released a joint statement condemning Pyongyang's latest launch "in the strongest terms" and warning it "poses a threat" to the entire international community.
"The DPRK is demonstrating its determination to continue advancing its weapons programme as it escalates its provocative behaviour - and yet the Council has remained silent," said the countries, which include non-permanent Security Council members Ireland, Brazil, Germany, Japan, Norway, and South Korea.
The statement urged UN states, especially Security Council members, "to join us in condemning this behaviour and in urging the DPRK to abandon its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programmes and engage in diplomacy toward denuclearisation."
China addressed the Security Council meeting and urged "prudence and reason" regarding North Korea.
"All is not quiet on the international front. No parties should take any action that would lead to greater tensions," China's UN ambassador Zhang Jun said.
Russia, for its part, warned against following Washington's lead on tightening sanctions.
Deputy Russian envoy to the UN Anna Evstigneeva said Moscow believes that doing so would "go beyond the framework of cutting off financing" for the DPRK missile and nuclear programmes and would "threaten North Korean citizens with unacceptable socio-economic and humanitarian problems."
In 2018, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un formalised a moratorium on nuclear testing and long-range ballistic missile launches, stating that his goals had been met and proclaiming his country a fully nuclear state.
He nonetheless personally supervised Thursday's launch, which state media reported was meant to ensure the country is ready for "long-standing confrontation" with the United States.
The EU and the G7 group of wealthiest democracies yesterday condemned what they said was North Korea's "blatant violation" of its obligations under Security Council resolutions.