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US to ask UN Security Council to discuss recent North Korean missile launches

US to ask UN Security Council to discuss recent North Korean missile launches
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The Trump administration this week plans to ask the United Nations Security Council to discuss North Korea’s recent missile launches and “the possibility of an escalatory” provocation from the isolated nation, a State Department spokesperson confirmed to The Hill on Monday.

Details of the time and place of the meeting, first reported by Reuters, are still unclear.  

“In light of recent events on the Korean Peninsula and the President’s Dec. 5 meeting with the Permanent Representatives to the UN Security Council, the State Department is instructing [the U.S. Mission to the United Nations] to propose to have the UN Security Council discussion on North Korea this week include a comprehensive update on recent developments on the Korean Peninsula, including recent missile launches and the possibility of an escalatory DPRK provocation,” the spokesperson said, using the acronym for North Korea's official name.

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The call follows a tense week of rhetoric from North Korea, whose ambassador to the U.N. said Saturday that denuclearization talks with the United States are “already gone out of the negotiation table.”

Pyongyang later said on Sunday that it had carried out a “very important test” at a long-range rocket facility once slated to be dismantled.

And an end-of-the-year deadline set by North Korea for nuclear negotiations is drawing closer, with a North Korean official last week warning that the U.S. would choose what “Christmas gift” it wants from Pyongyang. 

North Korean leader Kim Jong UnKim Jong UnNorth Korean hackers targeting pharmaceutical companies working on COVID-19 vaccines: report US analyst: North Korea's Kim, family inoculated with experimental Chinese COVID-19 vaccine North Korea puts further restrictions on seawater entry to fight pandemic: state media MORE had given President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him Biden: Trump attending inauguration is 'of consequence' to the country Biden says family will avoid business conflicts MORE the deadline to offer more flexibility in negotiations that have stalled in the last year. Washington hopes Pyongyang will give up its nuclear and missile programs while the isolated nation wants relief from economic sanctions and the end to combined U.S.-South Korean military drills in the region.

Trump and Kim have held three face-to-face meetings since June 2018, but no solid agreement has yet been made.

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Trump, meanwhile, on Saturday said that he would be surprised if North Korea acted with hostility and boasted of his “very good relationship” with Kim.

But then a day later he warned Kim in a series of tweets that he has “everything” to lose if he “acts in a hostile way” and that his country “must denuclearize as promised.”

Some diplomats worry, however, that such a back and forth will prompt North Korea to resume nuclear and long-range missile testing suspended since 2017.