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North Korea claims 'legal right' to launch missiles

[JURIST] North Korea [JURIST news archive] on Thursday claimed it has a "legal right" to build and test missiles in an effort to strengthen self-defense, in a statement from the foreign ministry which also confirmed that the country test-launched seven missiles [VOA report] earlier this week. North Korea also promised to continue missile launches, and threatened to use force if the international community tries to stop the test-launches. North Korea pulled out of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty [PDF text; IAEA backgrounder] in 2003 and international law regarding nuclear weapons is therefore largely inapplicable to North Korea.

On Wednesday, the UN Security Council [official website] held an emergency meeting [JURIST report] to consider a draft resolution [text] to impose sanctions on North Korea following Tuesday's launches. The five permanent members agreed that the Council should respond to the missile launches, but disagreed on how severe that response should be. The draft resolution, circulated by Japan and joined by the United States, France, and Britain, would block UN member states from providing North Korea with money, materials or technology that contribute to a nuclear program. Russia, however, opposed sanctions, instead advocating a strongly worded condemnation of Tuesday's missile tests. AP has more. Reuters has additional coverage.

2:44 PM ET - US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton insisted Thursday that the draft Security Council resolution has "broad and deep support" though Russian diplomats continued to press for a non-binding statement instead of a resolution imposing sanctions. AP has more.

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