The U.N. Security Council will hold an open debate on Wednesday on North Korea's nuclear and missile development at the request of the United States, a council source said Monday.

The move by the United States, which holds the rotating chairmanship of the Security Council this month, could be a sign that Washington is toughening its stance toward Pyongyang, the source said.

It is the first time for the United States to call for a U.N. Security Council meeting on North Korea's nuclear and missile development since Pyongyang started test-firing short-range ballistic missiles in May.

The development comes amid ongoing provocative rhetoric from North Korea, with its official Korean Central News Agency reporting a statement by a senior official Monday that security threats to the United States will increase if the country ignores a year-end deadline set by Pyongyang.


The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump, which is exploring dialogue with North Korea, has declined to join some European countries in their joint statements denouncing Pyongyang's behaviors in recent Security Council meetings on the matter, though the United States has participated in the discussions.

Trump said Saturday that he would be "surprised" if North Korea acted in a hostile manner despite rising tensions over the denuclearization talks.

"I have a very good relationship with (leader) Kim Jong Un. I think we both want to keep it that way," Trump said at the White House after North Korea's ambassador to the United Nations reportedly said denuclearization may have to be off the negotiating table.

Despite international outcry over Pyongyang's continued missile testing, the Security Council has not adopted new punitive measures as China and Russia, two veto-wielding permanent members, typically favor a conciliatory approach toward North Korea and the current U.S. position prioritizes bilateral talks.

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