The UN Security Council says that North Korea’s missile launches are a direct violation of Pyongyang’s international obligations and the council’s resolutions.
"These launches are in grave violation of the DPRK's international obligations and UN Security Council resolutions," said the 15-member Council in a unanimously-adopted statement on Tuesday.
The condemnation was made several hours after an emergency closed door council meeting convened after the North fired three ballistic missiles from a western region in the capital Pyongyang into the Sea of Japan.
"The members of the Security Council deplore all Democratic People’s Republic of Korea ballistic missile activities, including these launches," said the statement. "Such activities contribute to (North Korea's) development of nuclear weapons delivery systems and increase tension."
It noted that the council would be taking significant measures in line with its “previously expressed determination" to halt Pyongyang’s activities.
Earlier, the US called on the council to further enforce its previous resolutions aimed at blocking the North’s ballistic missile tests.
"The Security Council must remain unequivocal and united in the condemnation of these tests and we must take action to enforce the words we put on paper, to enforce our resolutions," said US ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power (seen below).
The UN and the West have imposed a raft of sanctions on North Korea, prompting Pyongyang to step up its nuclear activities.
In January, North Korea said it had successfully detonated a hydrogen bomb, its fourth nuclear test, and vowed to build up its nuclear program as deterrence against potential aggression from the US and its regional allies.
A month later, Pyongyang launched a long-range rocket which it said placed an earth observation satellite into orbit. Washington and Seoul denounced it as a cover for an intercontinental ballistic missile test.
North Korea says it will not give up on its nuclear “deterrence” unless Washington ends its hostile policy toward Pyongyang and dissolves the US-led command in South Korea. Thousands of US soldiers are stationed in South Korea and Japan.
The UN has adopted five rounds of crippling sanctions on the North since it first tested an atomic device in 2006 despite the nation's critical situation, including its worsening famine.