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US accuses China and Russia of blocking UN Security Council action against North Korea


The United States on Monday accused China and Russia of preventing the UN Security Council from influencing North Korea, which has launched an unprecedented series of intercontinental ballistic missile launches in recent days, violation of numerous UN resolutions, endangering international air and maritime security.

US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield told a UN Security Council meeting that Chinese and Russian “obstructionism” was encouraging North Korea to “launch ballistic missiles in impunity” and to develop advanced and dangerous weapons.

After the meeting, Thomas-Greenfield read a statement on behalf of UN Security Council members Ecuador, France, Japan, Malta, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom, as well than South Korea, condemning the launches.

Representatives of the aforementioned states said that this crisis not only threatens the region, but also global peace and stability, and called on the Security Council to once again act as a united front. Contrary to Thomas-Greenfield’s comments, the statement did not mention China and Russia, although it did refer to actions by Moscow and Beijing.

The Security Council imposed sanctions after North Korea’s first nuclear test in 2006 and has tightened them over the years, passing a total of 10 resolutions aimed – so far unsuccessfully – at curbing and stopping funding for North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs. In the latest sanctions resolution, adopted by the Council in December 2017, the UNSC pledged to further restrict oil exports to North Korea if it launches an intercontinental ballistic missile.

In May 2022, China and Russia vetoed a US-initiated resolution imposing new sanctions, including on oil exports, in a series of ICBM launches. Instead of new sanctions, it is now necessary to resume the dialogue between North Korea and the United States, they declared and supported this position on Monday.

The meeting took place at the height of the largest US-South Korea military exercise in recent years, which included computer simulations, field exercises and joint flights of long-range US B-1B bombers with aircraft. South Korean warfare. North Korea said on Monday it had simulated a nuclear attack on South Korea with a ballistic missile over the weekend. It was the fifth ballistic missile launch this month in protest against military exercises.

China’s deputy ambassador to the UN, Geng Shuang, said that in 2018 North Korea had taken “a positive initiative to give up nuclear weapons in exchange for security”, telling the Council that “the party American has not shown goodwill by missing an important opportunity to achieve denuclearization of the peninsula.

Thomas-Greenfield countered that was not true, even though North Korea has temporarily halted testing.

“The many launches we’ve seen have all demonstrated to us that (North Korea) continues to develop its programs within its borders,” she said.

Geng and Russia’s deputy envoy to the UN, Anna Yevstigneeva, accused the United States of escalating tensions over the ongoing military exercise, dismissing Thomas-Greenfield’s claim that the he exercise is long-standing, routine and purely defensive.

Beijing and Moscow officials stressed that the Security Council should focus on reducing tensions on the Korean peninsula and urged UNSC members to support their November 2021 resolution that lifts some sanctions in order to stimulate dialogue between the United States and North Korea and to reduce the influence of sanctions on the people of the DPRK.

Geng said the resolution they were proposing was intended to encourage North Korea to resume negotiations and create conditions for easing tensions. Evstigneeva said the resolution “is specifically aimed at reaching a political and diplomatic settlement.”

Thomas-Greenfield confirmed that the US offer to negotiate with Pyongyang remains in place. However, in their speeches on Monday, neither the Chinese nor Russian diplomats even asked North Korea to stop the tests, she said, and their resolution would reward Pyongyang for not respecting the resolutions of the Security Council banning ballistic missile launches and nuclear testing.

“They are depriving their own people of the necessary humanitarian aid that will alleviate their suffering and enable the international community to step in and provide the humanitarian assistance they need,” Thomas-Greenfield said.

Copyright © 2023 The Eastern Herald.

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