United Nations Security Council
United Nations Security CouncilReuters

The UN Security Council on Thursday strongly condemned North Korea’s latest ballistic missile launch and demanded a halt to all missile tests, reports The Associated Press.

The Council said in a statement that North Korea's tests violate UN sanctions and “are significantly increasing tension in the region and beyond.”

A press statement agreed to by all 15 members of the Council expresses “utmost concern” at North Korea’s “highly destabilizing behavior and flagrant and provocative defiance of the Security Council” by conducting the latest launch less than three weeks after the previous test.

Council members added they “deplore” all North Korean ballistic missile activity, stressing that it contributes to the country’s development of nuclear weapons delivery systems and diverts resources from the needs of its people.

North Korea's latest missile test occurred early Wednesday morning. Initial assessments were that the missile was a KN-15 medium-range ballistic missile, but U.S. officials later said the missile that was fired was a liquid-fueled, extended-range Scud missile.

The Scud launch was the latest in a series of provocations from North Korea. The country tested a powerful new rocket engine in mid-March. The test was hailed by North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un as a "new birth" for the nation's rocket industry.

Officials subsequently said North Korea had conducted another ballistic missile engine test, this time testing engine technology could possibly be used in an eventual intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

Earlier in March, Pyongyang fired ballistic missiles into the sea off Japan's northwest coast, in what was claimed to be a training exercise for a strike on American bases in Japan.

The council statement was issued hours before U.S. President Donald Trump meets China’s President Xi Jinping at his Florida resort, where North Korea will be at the top of the agenda.