WASHINGTON — China and Russia bear “unique and special responsibility” for the growing threat posed by North Korea, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Saturday following Pyongyang’s latest intercontinental ballistic missile test.
Leader Kim Jong-un said the test confirmed all the US mainland was within striking range after the North’s second ICBM this month on Friday.
“As the principal economic enablers of North Korea’s nuclear weapon and ballistic missile development program, China and Russia bear unique and special responsibility for this growing threat to regional and global stability,” Tillerson said in a statement.
The launch was a “blatant violation of multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions that reflect the will of the international community,” he added.
China is the regime’s last remaining major ally, while Russia’s Vladimir Putin has warned the international community should not “lose its cool” over the nuclear-armed regime.
US President Donald Trump denounced the latest ICBM launch as a “reckless and dangerous” action and rejected Pyongyang’s claims that such tests helped ensure its security.
“By threatening the world, these weapons and tests further isolate North Korea, weaken its economy, and deprive its people,” he said in a statement.
Friday’s test came just hours after the US Senate passed bipartisan sanctions on Pyongyang.
North Korea’s accelerated drive towards a credible nuclear strike capability poses a thorny policy challenge for Trump, who is at loggerheads with Beijing over how to handle Kim Jong-un’s regime.
In all, six sets of UN sanctions have been imposed on North Korea since it first tested an atomic device in 2006, but two resolutions adopted last year significantly toughened the sanctions regime.