The Group of Seven industrialized nations on Sunday condemned "in the strongest terms" North Korea's recent launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile and called for "significant measures" to be taken by the U.N. Security Council.
The joint foreign ministerial statement was issued by countries including the United States and Japan as North Korea continues to test-fire missiles, with its most recent launch on Friday involving an ICBM that could potentially reach the U.S. mainland.
"This missile launch is another blatant violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions," the statement said. "This reckless act, together with the evidence of ongoing nuclear activities, underscores the DPRK's determination to advance and diversify its nuclear weapons and missile capabilities."
The acronym stands for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, North Korea's official name. Pyongyang continues to defy U.N. Security Council resolutions aimed at curbing its programs to develop weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles.
Describing North Korea's unprecedented series of ballistic missile launches this year as posing "a serious threat to regional and international peace and security," the G-7 foreign ministers said, "The DPRK's actions demand a united and robust response by the international community."
The G-7 consists of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States plus the European Union.
The countries also reiterated that North Korea must abandon its nuclear weapons, any other weapons of mass destruction and its ballistic missile programs "in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner," adding that Pyongyang "cannot and will never have the status of a nuclear-weapon state."
The launch was condemned by U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who in a statement released Friday urged Pyongyang "to immediately desist from taking any further provocative actions."
North Korean Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui expressed "strong regret" in response to Guterres' remarks, saying in a statement that the secretary general had adopted a "very deplorable attitude, oblivious of the purpose... of the U.N. Charter and its proper mission which is to maintain impartiality," North Korea's state-run media reported Monday.
"The DPRK made clear that it could not but take indispensable action for self-defense under the worrying security environment in the Korean peninsula and the region caused by the U.S. and its vassal forces," the statement read, which also referred to Guterres as a "puppet of the U.S."
The Korean Central News Agency reported Saturday that a new type of Hwasong-17 ICBM had been test-fired the day before. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspected the test and pledged to counter nuclear threats with nuclear weapons, the report said, in an apparent warning to the United States.
In Friday's test-firing, the missile flew on a lofted trajectory and likely fell in Japan's exclusive economic zone in the Sea of Japan. The launch was immediately condemned by Japan, the United States, South Korea and other countries.
North Korea is also believed to have made preparations for its seventh nuclear test, which would be its first since September 2017.