Russia and China vetoed UN sanctions on North Korea

China and Russia vetoed a recent US-backed United Nations (UN) resolution that would have imposed new sanctions on North Korea for its continued launching of ICBMs that could be used to carry nuclear weapons.

The Associated Press reported that the vote held by the UN Security Council had thirteen nations in favor and two against. China and Russia were the only dissenters. China and Russia are among the five countries with veto powers in the Security Council. The move by China and Russia to veto the sanctions package marks the first serious split among the five permanent members of the Security Council to veto.

In 2006, the Security Council unanimously imposed sanctions on North Korea after its first nuclear test explosion. Over the years, these sanctions packages have been intensified, and so far there have been 10 resolutions that have unsuccessfully attempted to stem North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

After vetoing the vote, Chinese and Russian officials said their countries were opposed to imposing more sanctions on North Korea, while emphasizing the need for greater dialogue between North Korean and American leaders.

US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield expressed disappointment at the vote but indicated that she was not surprised. Thomas-Greenfield called North Korea’s 23 missile launches this year “a serious threat to international peace and security.”

Using the initials of North Korea’s official name, she said, “The world faces a clear and present threat from the DPRK.”

In the last sanctions resolution passed by the UN Security Council in December 2017, member states committed to introducing further restrictions on oil exports to North Korea if it continues to launch ballistic missiles capable of intercontinental ranges.

Ahead of this latest vote, Thomas-Greenfield urged council members to live up to their commitment to take action against North Korea’s renewed ICBM launches and revived nuclear program.

China’s ambassador to the United Nations, Zhang Jun, accused the US of failing to reciprocate North Korea’s “positive initiatives” during talks between the two countries under the Trump administration in 2018 and 2019.

Jun said it was the US’s responsibility to resume dialogue with North Korea’s leadership and find a diplomatic solution that would advance a peace deal between North and South Korea in lieu of the long-standing truce.

Zhang said, “The situation and the peninsula have evolved into what they are today largely thanks to the flip-flop of US policy and the failure to uphold the outcomes of previous dialogues.” Russia and China vetoed UN sanctions on North Korea

Laura Coffey

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