US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has accused North Korea of threatening the entire world, after Pyongyang fired a missile over Japan for the second time in under a month in defiance of international pressure over its missile and nuclear programmes.
In the latest attempt to deal with an issue that has repeatedly frustrated world powers, the UN Security Council was due to meet early Saturday morning AEST to discuss the missile launch, at the request of the United States and Japan.
The council's 15 members unanimously stepped up sanctions against North Korea over a nuclear bomb test it staged on September 3, imposing a ban on North Korea's textile exports and capping its imports of crude oil.
North Korea has launched dozens of missiles under leader Kim Jong-Un as it accelerates a weapons program designed to give it the ability to target the United States with a powerful, nuclear-tipped missile.
Tillerson said in a speech to foreign officials that the tests threaten the world and stressed the United States was working closely with regional allies Japan and South Korea.
"In East Asia, an increasingly aggressive and isolated regime in North Korea threatens democracies in South Korea, Japan, and more importantly, and more recently, has expanded those threats to the United States, endangering the entire world," Tillerson said.
Taking a tougher line than Tillerson, White House National Security Adviser HR McMaster said the United States was fast running out of patience for diplomatic solutions on North Korea.
"We've been kicking the can down the road, and we're out of road. For those ... who have been commenting on a lack of a military option, there is a military option," he said, adding that it would not be the Trump administration's preferred choice.
North Korea's latest test missile flew over Hokkaido in northern Japan on Friday and landed in the Pacific about 2000km to the east, the Japanese government said.
It travelled about 3700km in total, according to South Korea's military, far enough to reach the US Pacific territory of Guam, which the North has threatened before.