Russia and China have agreed a joint position on North Korea designed to defuse tensions around its missile programme and both want Washington to halt deployment of a missile shield in South Korea, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
Moscow and Beijing had agreed on the need for a simultaneous freezing of North Korea’s missile and nuclear programme and large-scale military exercises by the United States and South Korea, the ministry said in a statement.
The statement was released after President Vladimir Putin held talks with visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping in the Kremlin.
Earlier, Chinese spokesman Geng Shuang had said UN Security Council resolutions had clear rules on North Korea’s missile launches and China opposed it going against those rules.
North Korea said it had successfully test-launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) for the first time, which flew a trajectory that experts said could allow a weapon to hit the US state of Alaska.
The same statement said Moscow and Beijing wanted the United States to immediately halt its deployment of the THAAD anti-missile system to South Korea, a move Washington says is necessitated by the North Korean missile threat.
Trump prods China to take action
Soon after the launch, US President Donald Trump sent a tweet presumably referring to Mr Kim, that questioned whether “this guy [had] anything better to do with his life”.
Mr Trump went on to suggest China could “perhaps” take action against North Korea “and end this nonsense once and for all!”
The White House said Mr Trump had brought up the North Korean missile program during a phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday (local time).
Chinese state media reported that Mr Xi warned Mr Trump that “some negative factors” were hurting US-China relations.
Australia, Japan, condemn tests ahead of G20 meeting
Australia condemned the “provocative ballistic tests”, which Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said were in breach of numerous United Nations Security Council resolutions.
“North Korea continues to threaten its neighbours while undermining regional and global security,” Ms Bishop said in a statement.
“North Korea’s long-term interests would be best served by ceasing its nuclear and missiles programs and focusing on improving the lives of its long suffering people.”
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also condemned North Korea’s actions, saying he would work alongside world leaders to increase pressure on the regime.
“Japan will work to increase international pressure on North Korea by uniting strongly with the US and South Korea,” Mr Abe said.
“I’m also planning to call on the Chinese President, Xi Jinping, and the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, to play a more constructive role.”
Officials said the missile was launched from Pangyhon, about 100 kilometres from the North Korean capital. (Supplied: KCTV)