Malaysia joins chorus of protests against North Korean missile launches

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PETALING JAYA: North Korea’s launch of four ballistic missiles today has fuelled regional tensions and demonstrated the country’s disregard for the peace and security of the region and the world, says Putrajaya.

In a statement condemning the act, the foreign affairs ministry said the launch of the missiles was a flagrant violation of multiple United Nations Security Council regulations and undermined the global nuclear disarmament.

“North Korea has again manifested its rejection of calls from the international community to cease its ballistic missile launches.

“Malaysia urges North Korea to end all ballistic missile launches and, of paramount importance, to conform to all United Nations Security Council regulations concerning North Korea,” it said.

North Korea is reported to have fired four ballistic missiles into the sea, days after it vowed to take “strong retaliatory measures” to US-South Korea military drills it sees as preparation for war.

The missiles, fired from the Tongchang-ri region near North Korea’s border with China, landed in waters as close as 300km from Japan’s north-west coast, Reuters reported.

Japan’s Defence Minister Tomomi Inada said in Tokyo that “strong protests” had been lodged with North Korea.

South Korea’s acting President Hwang Kyo Ahn has condemned the launches as a direct challenge to the international community and said Seoul would swiftly deploy a US anti-missile defence system despite angry objections from China.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang was reported to have said at a daily news briefing that China had noted North Korea’s latest action.

“All sides should exercise restraint and not do anything to irritate each other to worsen regional tensions,” Geng said, referring to both the missile launch and US-South Korean military exercises.