LONDON, May 31 (Reuters) – North Korean missile tests are threatening the safety of merchant shipping on busy sea lanes in Northeast Asia without being given sufficient time for notification, several countries told a UN agency on Wednesday.
North Korea’s sixth nuclear-armed satellite launch on Wednesday ended in failurecrashing the booster and payload into the sea, but it still triggered emergency alerts and evacuation warnings in parts of South Korea and Japan.
A resolution passed by a majority of over 100 countries participating in the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Safety Committee “strongly condemned” the missile tests “which seriously threatened the safety of seafarers and international shipping”.
North Korea rejected the resolution and a paper submitted by countries including the US, South Korea and Japan. In response, it said the missile tests “represent routine and planned self-defense measures by a sovereign state in defense of national security.”
“(North Korea) is unable to pre-register its military drills and self-defense activities,” said a submission to the IMO committee.
North Korea added that the missile launches “were based on precise scientific calculation and consideration of their point of impact and the routes of ships navigating the waters.”
The paper was also submitted by Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, Ukraine, the UK and Vanuatu.
(Reporting by Jonathan Saul; Editing by Grant McCool)
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