The intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14 is seen in this undated photo released by KCNA
The intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14 is seen in this undated photo released by KCNAReuters

The United States proposed on Monday that the UN Security Council condemn North Korea's recent ballistic missile launches and encourage Pyongyang to engage in diplomacy, warning that the 15-member body's failure to respond had become dangerous, Reuters reported.

"The reality is that those who shield the DPRK (North Korea) from the consequences of its escalatory missile tests put the Asian region and entire world at risk of conflict," said US Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield.

"The council's lack of action is worse than shameful. It is dangerous," she told the Security Council, proposing that it adopt a formal presidential statement - one step below a resolution - to condemn North Korea's action and urge diplomacy.

Thomas-Greenfield’s came a day after North Korea fired three ballistic missiles off its east coast.

That incident occurred two days after North Korea conducted a test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

The state-run Korean Central News Agency said a Hwasong-15 ICBM was fired in a “surprise ICBM launching drill” under the written orders of leader Kim Jong Un.

The missile flew 989 kilometers for almost 67 minutes to an altitude of 5,768.5 kilometers, according to the KCNA report.

The Security Council met on Monday following the latest missile launches. After the Security Council meeting, two-thirds of the body's members and South Korea issued a joint statement - read by Thomas-Greenfield - condemning North Korea's missile launches.

China and Russia have opposed any further action by the Security Council against North Korea, arguing that putting further pressure on North Korea would not be constructive. The two countries vetoed a US-led push to impose more UN sanctions on North Korea in May of last year.

North Korea last month began 2023 by firing a short-range ballistic missile toward its eastern waters. Kim later ordered the development of new intercontinental ballistic missiles and massive production of tactical nuclear weapons to counter threats from the United States and South Korea.

North Korea has upped the volume of its ballistic missile tests in recent months. The country tested dozens of ballistic weapons in 2022, including its first intercontinental ballistic missiles since 2017.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said last November that his country's ultimate goal is to possess the world's most powerful nuclear force.