North Korea has test-fired a series of missiles – drawing international condemnation and prompting an emergency session of the UN Security Council.
At least seven weapons were launched, including one which could reach Alaska.
Observers say the timing of the tests is important.
The secretive communist government apparently pays close attention to symbolic gestures and chose a date coinciding with the US 4th of July Independence Day celebrations.
The UN Security Council was quick to convene to work on a unified response to Pyongyang’s actions.
Washington has urged North Korea to take a step back and says it is hoping for a diplomatic solution to the crisis.
US Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, said :
“By the tenure of the statements of all the Council members, I think there is support for sending a clear signal to Pyongyang and we will proceed to see if we can get that done in the next few days.”
Japan called the urgent UN meeting. It has drawn up an initial draft resolution.
Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has said he advocates a diplomatic approach while also applying pressure on Pyongyang.