Diplomats at the United Nations denounced as a provocation today's cruise missile launches by North Korea, though no immediate meeting has been planned for the Security Council.
Bolivian Ambassador Sacha Sergio Llorenty Soliz, noting that no country has called for a council meeting "so far," stressed that only Pyongyang's ballistic missile launches and nuclear tests are banned by the UN and could trigger sanctions.
His British counterpart Matthew Rycroft pointed out that -- unlike ballistic missile launches -- the cruise missile tests, while "irresponsible" and "destabilizing," probably do not violate UN resolutions barring Pyongyang from engaging in ballistic missile activity.
The volley of surface-to-ship cruise missiles North Korea launched off its east coast earlier Thursday were "much slower" than ballistic missiles and can be shot down by anti- aircraft guns, Korea Defense Network analyst Lee Il-Woo said.
"We condemn the latest provocations from DPRK and we look forward to working with our council colleagues about the best way to respond to them," Rycroft said, using the acronymm for the North's formal name.
"It's irresponsible and it is destabilizing what is already a very sensitive situation."
But the diplomat added: "We are looking at the details now, but it is possible I think that they come underneath a threshold to count as a violation" of UN resolutions.
French envoy Francois Delattre highlighted the need to be on the "tough side" on the issue.
"We remain determined to move ahead with our partners at the Security Council," he added.
On Friday, the council unanimously adopted a US-drafted resolution imposing new targeted sanctions on a handful of North Korean officials and entities, a move Pyongyang said was "mean."
The North has carried out two atomic tests and dozens of missile launches since the beginning of last year in its quest to develop a missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the continental United States -- something President Donald Trump has vowed "won't happen."