Six European nations on UN Security Council on Tuesday condemned North Korea's latest missile tests, describing the launches as "provocative actions."
Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany, Poland, and the United Kingdom "are deeply concerned by Pyongyang's repeated testing of missiles, developing its ballistic missile programs" on March the 2nd, 9th, 21st and 29th. The countries read a statement issued after an informal high-level UN videoconference.
"They undermine regional security and stability, as well as international peace and security, and are in clear violation of unanimously adopted UN Security Council resolutions," the Europeans said. "It is vital that the Security Council ensures full implementation of its resolutions and that sanctions remain in place," the statement read.
Germany's deputy U.N. ambassador Juergen Schulz told the council it was sad that North Korea is giving priority to its illegal weapons programs instead of making global solidarity and cooperation a top priority and working with the World Health Organization and the U.N. on "the unprecedented global threat faced by the Covid-19 pandemic," the New York Times reported on Tuesday.
"Unfortunately, there seems to be a lack of transparency in DPRK's cooperation with the U.N. over COVID-19 which we find dangerous and cynical," he said.
The Security Council committee monitoring sanctions against North Korea which Germany heads has granted "all COVID-19 related humanitarian exemption requests with unprecedented speed and urgency," Schulz said. "The sanctions are therefore no impediment to effectively combating COVID-19 in the DPRK."
The Europeans noted that Pyongyang has conducted 17 sets of such launches since May 2019 when the second summit between the North's leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump collapsed in Vietnam.
Pyongyang said on Monday that the weapons launches included a developmental mid-range missile that could be launched from submarines, a "super large" multiple rocket launcher, and a new mobile, solid-fuel missile system.
The joint statement again urged North Korea "to engage in good faith in meaningful negotiations with the United States aimed at denuclearization, to take concrete steps to abandoning all weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner, and to refrain from further provocations."
"There is no other way to achieve security and stability on the Korean Peninsula," the Europeans said. "Continued provocations risk undermining the prospect for successful negotiations."
They called on the Security Council and all countries to implement sanctions against North Korea as well as the publication of their statement.
China and Russia have called for the easing sanction against North Korea however, the Europeans and the U.S. want to see North Korean actions toward denuclearization before any measures are lifted.