4 Oct 2022

New Zealand condemns North Korea firing ballistic missile over Japan

4:24 pm on 4 October 2022
Jacinda Ardern

Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has condemned North Korea's latest launch of a ballistic missile, saying it is "unacceptable - in law and in practise".

The missile, launched off North Korea's east coast, was reported to have flown over northern Japan - prompting warnings for residents to take cover, and suspending train operations - before falling into the Pacific Ocean.

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said such behaviour needed to be "utterly" condemned.

"We're seeing increasing use of ballistic missiles and testing coming from North Korea and we must continue to utterly condemn what is happening. It is a breach of international rules, it is a breach of that sense of security for the region, and so we stand with others in giving our condemnation," she said.

"It is a risk, it's an identified risk, it's one that poses of course a significant threat to Japan. They continue to have our solidarity, but we've got to continue to work together as an international community to demonstrate that this is just totally unacceptable - in law, and in practise."

She said North Korea's stance on nuclear testing was particularly stark, given other nations' pledges to commit to end such testing.

In a tweet, New Zealand's Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta described the launch as "dangerous and provocative".

"North Korea can find security and prosperity through engagement with the international community, not through its missile and nuclear programmes," she said.

Having earlier just emerged from meeting with her Solomon Islands counterpart Jeremiah Manele in Wellington, said she had not been briefed on the matter, but New Zealand's position on nuclear non-proliferation was clear.

"New Zealand's been a long advocate for the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and our stance has been well articulated over a number of years. It is concerning," she said.

"By and large, having any type of nuclear activity in our region will be a matter of high concern."

Manele expressed similar concerns. "We share the same position that the minister has alluded to, it is a concern and one that we condemn."

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