The latest missile test by North Korea, one of its furthest-reaching yet, has split world powers who united behind new United Nations sanctions just days ago.
The US said the burden of responding to the North should fall on China, its main ally, and Russia, which also has ties to the regime in Pyongyang.
Here's what people get wrong about North Korea: pic.twitter.com/4FtlWW1UzL
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) September 15, 2017
But China suggested the United States was shirking its own responsibility, while Russia condemned “aggressive” US rhetoric.[divider]
The missile fired over Japan had the range to hit the US territory of Guam.
It reached an altitude of about 770km (478 miles), travelling 3,700km past Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido before landing in the sea, South Korea’s military says.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) September 15, 2017
According to BBC, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said his country would “never tolerate” such “dangerous provocative action”, and the US, China and Russia also condemned the test, coming as it did after the North’s nuclear bomb test on 3 September.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron have called for a resumption of direct talks with Pyongyang to de-escalate the crisis, the Kremlin says.
On Monday, UN Security Council members voted unanimously to restrict oil imports and ban textile exportsto North Korea in response to the nuclear test, which had violated UN resolutions.
However, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made clear Washington considered it was now up to Beijing and Moscow to act to restrain Pyongyang.
They “must indicate their intolerance for these reckless missile launches by taking direct actions of their own,” he said.
He said that China supplied North Korea with most of its oil, while Russia was the largest employer of North Korean forced labour.
Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying hit back by saying her country was not the “focal point of the conflict”.
“The various directly involved parties should take responsibility,” she told journalists, in remarks clearly aimed at the US and South Korea. “Any attempt to wash their hands of the issue is irresponsible and unhelpful for resolving the issue.”
She added that sanctions were “not the way to solve the problem” and called for a peaceful solution “through formal diplomatic means”.
Speaking on a Russian radio station, Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said: “We are demonstrating not only our intolerance towards the illegal launches but also our willingness to settle the situation in the Korean peninsula.”