US urges action after N. Korea's missile launch

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WASHINGTON: The US on Thursday called on China and Russia to take "direct actions" to rein in North Korea after it fired a ballistic missile over Japan into the Pacific Ocean for the second time in less than a month.

"China supplies North Korea with most of its oil. Russia is the largest employer of North Korean forced labour," US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said.

"China and Russia must indicate their intolerance for these reckless missile launches by taking direct actions of their own."

The launch yesterday, from near Pyongyang, came after the United Nations (UN) Security Council imposed an eighth set of sanctions on the country.

Mr Tillerson called the fresh punitive measures "the floor, not the ceiling, of the actions we should take".

The UN Security Council is scheduled to hold an emergency meeting today.

Mr Tillerson's call for action came hours after the US military's regional command confirmed North Korea had fired the intermediate range ballistic missile over Japan and into the Pacific Ocean, noting it had not posed a threat to North America.

The missile reached an altitude of about 770km and flew for about 19 minutes over a distance of about 3,700km, according to South Korea's military - far enough to reach the US Pacific territory of Guam.

The Union of Concerned Scientists said the accuracy of the missile was low, so it would be difficult to destroy the US Andersen Air Force Base on Guam. - WIRE SERVICES

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