SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA—North Korea shows its defiance to the world once again Tuesday, by launching more long-range missiles. This follows Monday's underground nuclear test in Pyongyang and three missile launches.
The United Nations Security Council calls the test a clear violation of a 2006 resolution banning the regime from developing its nuclear program.
It didn't take long for members to unanimously condemn the actions.
The U.N. Security Council is working on a resolution that could mean stronger sanctions against the communist regime.
Two missiles - one ground-to-air, the other ground-to-ship - with a range of about 80 miles (130 kilometers) were test-fired from an east coast launchpad, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported, citing an unidentified government official.
Pyongyang also warned ships to stay away from waters off its western coast this week, a sign it may be gearing up for more missile tests, South Korea's coast guard said.
North Korea is "trying to test whether they can intimidate the international community" with its nuclear and missile activity, said Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
"But we are united, North Korea is isolated and pressure on North Korea will increase," Rice said. On Monday, President Barack Obama assailed Pyongyang, accusing it of engaging in "reckless" actions that have endangered the region, and the North accused Washington of hostility.
North Korea appeared to be displaying its might following its underground atomic test that the U.N. Security Council condemned as a "clear violation" of a 2006 resolution banning the regime from developing its nuclear program.
France called for new sanctions, while the U.S. and Japan pushed for strong action against North Korea for testing a bomb that Russian officials said was comparable in power to those dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II.
China said it "resolutely opposed" North Korea's test and urged Pyongyang to return to talks on ending its atomic programs.
Russia, once a key backer of North Korea, condemned the test.
Moscow's U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, the current Security Council president, said the 15-member council would begin work "quickly" on a new resolution.
But many questioned whether new punishment would have any effect on a nation already penalized by numerous sanctions and clearly dismissive of the Security Council's jurisdiction.
"I agree that the North Koreans are recalcitrant and very difficult to hold to any agreement that they sign up to," Britain's ambassador to the U.N., John Sawers, told the British Broadcasting Corp. "But there is a limited range of options here."
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he felt "frustrated by the lack of progress in the denuclearization process" and said North Korea's only viable option was to return to the six-party talks on disarmament, and continue exchanges and cooperation with South Korea.
Ban, on a visit to Finland, declined to comment on possible further sanctions.
"I leave it to the Security Council members what measures they should take," said Ban, a South Korean who once participated in international negotiations aimed at dismantling North Korea's nuclear program.
South Korea said it would join a maritime web of more than 90 nations that intercept ships suspected of spreading weapons of mass destruction - a move North Korea warned would constitute an act of war.