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EU High Representative Federica Mogherini today condemned a new missile test by North Korea, saying the country's "actions constitute outright violations of the DPRK's international obligations, as set out in several UN Security Council Resolutions and represent a serious threat to international peace and security."
Pyongyang this morning fired a missile that flew over northern Japan before crashing into the sea 1000 km off the Japanese coast. Today's launch is the first time the DPRK has successfully fired a projectile over Japan since 1998 and marks a sharp acceleration of tensions in the region.
The High Representative confirmed that the EU supports the call by Japan and the US for an emergency meeting today of the UN Security Council. "Unity of the international community in addressing this challenge is essential," Mogherini stressed. " The European Union will consider further appropriate response in close consultation with key partners and in line with UN Security Council deliberations."
The EU in April agreed new sanctions against Pyongyang, but espouses a broader policy of critical engagement.
"The DPRK must engage in a credible and meaningful dialogue in order to defuse tension and to enable steps aimed at pursuing the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula and the full implementation of all relevant UN Security Council resolutions," read today's statement by the High Representative. "The European Union is ready to support such a process in consultation with key partners."
This approach gives the EU an important role to play in seeking a diplomatic solution to rising tensions on the Korean peninsula, as Mogherini pointed out to EU Ambassadors at their annual gathering in Brussels yesterday.
In the context of the already escalating crisis, Mogherini highlighted the receptiveness of the EU's partners in the region to a pro-active role from the Union. "We might be far away from the Pacific in geographic terms, but all our Asian partners were keen to have us involved in the solution of the crisis," she noted, referring to a series of meetings just a few weeks ago in Manila on the margins of the ASEAN Regional Forum. "They know that we will always look for a diplomatic solution. They know that we will do all we can to promote mediation, keeping in mind the goal of a full and verifiable denuclearisation."