Beckett has condemned North Korea

N Korea missile test ‘provocative’

N Korea missile test ‘provocative’

Foreign secretary Margaret Beckett has described the testing of missiles by North Korea as “provocative”.

The tests, carried out on Tuesday, included the firing of a long range Taepodong-II missile.

The missile, thought to be capable of reaching the United States, failed 40 seconds into its flight, while the others fell into the Sea of Japan.

The United Nations Security Council is set to hold an emergency meeting in the wake of the tests, which have been condemned across the world.

Mrs Beckett said: “I was concerned to learn that the government of the DPRK (Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea) had gone ahead with these missile launches, despite international pressure on them not to.

“These tests are provocative, and only serve to raise tensions in the region. We strongly urge the government of DPRK to adhere to its commitment to a moratorium on missile testing.”

She urged North Korea to restart talks, adding: “The only way the DPRK will be able to resolve international concerns about its nuclear and missile programmes is through diplomatic negotiation.”

The tests have also been condemned in Japan and the US. Japan’s chief cabinet secretary Shinzo Abe told a news conference that the tests were “regrettable” and posed a serious threat to the peace and stability of Japan.

White house press secretary Tony Snow said it was a “provocative act designed to get attention”.

North Korea admitted it had nuclear weapons in February 2005. It last tested a long-range missile in 1998, but agreed a moratorium with Tokyo in 2002.