Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Friday night charged Russia and China with enabling the latest missile launch by North Korea that was the second test of an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the United States.
"As the principal economic enablers of North Korea's nuclear weapon and ballistic missile development program, China and Russia bear unique and special responsibility for this growing threat to regional and global stability," Tillerson said in a statement.
North Korea's launch Friday of an intercontinental missile traveled about 600 miles before falling in the Sea of Japan.
North Korea's first launch of an intercontinental missile on July 4 surprised the U.S. intelligence community, and caused it to revise its estimate of how soon Pyongyang might be able to threaten the mainland U.S. with nuclear weapons.
Russia objected to the United Nations' condemnation of the July 4 test, and disagreed that North Korea had in fact launched an intercontinental missile. Rather, Moscow said it believes North Korea fired an intermediate range ballistic missile.
After the July 4 test, Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said she would not allow China and Russia to limit efforts to corral North Korea.
"[I]f you see this as a threat, if you see this for what it is — which is North Korea showing its muscle — then you need to stand strong and vote with the international community to strengthen sanctions on North Korea," she said. "And if you choose not to, we will go our own path."
Tillerson stressed a similar message after Friday's missile launch.
"All nations should take a strong public stance against North Korea, by maintaining and strengthening U.N. sanctions to ensure North Korea will face consequences for its relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them," Tillerson said.