UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) — The United Nations Security Council on Wednesday called for all measures possible to prevent escalation of tension on the Korean Peninsula following the latest ballistic missile launch by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).
"Given the grave risks associated with any military confrontation, in exercise of its primary responsibility the Security Council needs to do all it can to prevent an escalation. Unity in the Security Council is critical," Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman said at Wednesday's emergency meeting, the 13th meeting of the council this year to discuss the DPRK.
The appeal came after UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres earlier "strongly condemned" the ballistic missile launch.
In his briefing to the council, Feltman said according to the DPRK's official news agency and government sources, Pyongyang launched what it termed an "intercontinental ballistic rocket Hwasong-15."
According to the Security Council, Wednesday's launch was the DPRK's third test of a ballistic missile of apparently intercontinental range in less than six months and its 20th ballistic missile launch this year.
The DPRK's repeated nuclear and missile tests over the past two years have created great tension on the Korean Peninsula and beyond, Feltman said, stressing that this dynamic must be reversed. But he stressed the solution can only be political.
Security Council unity would create an opportunity for sustained diplomatic engagement, a chance that must be seized in these dangerous times to work to create conditions for negotiations, he added.
Also on Wednesday morning, Feltman called a meeting with the DPRK's Permanent Representative Ja Song Nam to deliver the secretary-general's message.
At the meeting, Feltman stressed that "there is nothing more dangerous to peace and security in the world than what is happening now on the Korean Peninsula."
He also told the DPRK ambassador that Pyongyang must "desist from taking any further destabilizing steps."
Wu Haitao, China's deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, said the top priority in view of the current "grave situation" was for all parties to exercise restraint, implement UN sanctions, and strive for early resumption of dialogue and negotiations.
He said that the recent stable period on the peninsula before the latest launch had provided a window of opportunity for diplomatic efforts, but "regrettably, this window failed to lead to a resumption of dialogue and negotiations."
Wu reiterated the China-Russia proposal for the DPRK to suspend all nuclear and missile tests and the United States and South Korea to suspend all military exercises, adding, "We hope it will elicit a response and support."
Russia's Ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia also warned that the U.S.-South Korean drills "will only inflame an already explosive situation."
Nebenzia said Russia is deeply disappointed at the DPRK's long-range ballistic missile launch, stressing that Moscow does not support Pyongyang becoming a nuclear power.
He also said that Russia is strongly calling on all parties to stop the "spiral of tension."
French permanent representative to the United Nations Francois Delattre said "maximum pressure" must be put on the DPRK so as to pave the way for a political solution to the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue.
"The threat has shifted from regional to global, from being potential to immediate. The threat concerns all of us," he remarked.
Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi of Italy, chair of the 1718 DPRK Sanctions Committee which facilitates implementation of the provisions of all relevant resolutions, from 1718 (2006) to the latest 2375 (2017), also briefed the council.
Cardi said the committee has been engaged in facilitating implementation of all sanction measures and is continuing its efforts.