NEW YORK - The U.N. civil aviation agency on Friday strongly condemned North Korea's persistent launches of ballistic missiles near or over international air routes without prior notice, saying they seriously threaten the safety of international flights.
At a meeting at its headquarters in Montreal, Canada, the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization unanimously decided to condemn North Korea, a member of ICAO, and urge it to comply with the international civil aviation convention.
According to U.S. media, an Air France airliner flying from Tokyo to Paris in late July flew past an area where a ballistic missile splashed into the Sea of Japan off Hokkaido just several minutes later.
As North Korea has repeatedly conducted missile tests despite a series of sanctions introduced by the United Nations, some airlines flying between Japan and Europe have been obliged to alter their routes over the Sea of Japan.
The condemnation adopted by the ICAO Council was drafted by Japan, one of the Council's 36 member states, a government official said. Although the document is nonbinding, it is aimed at ramping up international pressure on the reclusive country.
ICAO's 191 member states are expected to notify adjacent countries of any activities that could pose a risk to nearby civil aviation routes, including volcanic ash clouds and aerial testing.