China, Russia veto new UN sanctions on North Korea for first time since 2006

The United Nations

Russia and China on Thursday vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution drafted by the United States aimed at tightening sanctions against North Korea in a vote that the American ambassador to the UN called it dangerous, disappointing and likely to fuel Pyongyang’s program to develop nuclear-capable missile systems.

The move comes after more than a dozen North Korean ballistic missile tests this year, all of which violated previous UN resolutions and which US officials said required another international response.

A resolution requires nine affirmative votes and no vetoes from permanent members Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom or the United States to pass the UN Security Council. The other 13 members of the Security Council voted to adopt the resolution.

US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield slammed the vetoes of Russia and China, which had not blocked any of the previous nine sanctions votes since 2006, saying the severity of the program’s threat North Korean armament had not changed.

“For the first time in 15 years, a member of the UN Security Council has used a veto to prevent the Council from fulfilling its responsibility to hold the DPRK (North Korea) accountable for its illegal proliferation,” the US envoy said in a statement issued on behalf of the United States, Japan and South Korea.

“Today’s vetoes are dangerous. These members have taken a position today that not only undermines previous Security Council action to which they committed, but also undermines our collective security.

Speaking at a session at UN Headquarters, Thomas-Greenfield added: “These council members decided to protect a proliferator from the consequences of his actions and they demonstrated the futility of their word by giving an explicit sign of approval to the DPRK. ”

North Korea has tested missiles at least 16 times this year, most recently on Wednesday when it fired three missiles. At least one of North Korea’s tests this year was supposed to be an intercontinental ballistic missile that could hit the American mainland.

China’s UN ambassador argued that further sanctions on North Korea would not stop its weapons program and could instead increase its level of testing.

New sanctions could also put additional pressure on the humanitarian situation in North Korea as it grapples with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, Ambassador Zhang Jun said.

The Russian envoy also cited the Covid situation in North Korea as the reason for his veto.

“Increasing sanctions pressure on Pyongyang is not only unnecessary but extremely dangerous due to the humanitarian consequences of such measures,” Russian UN Ambassador Vasily Alekseevich Nebenzya said in translated comments after the vote.

Nebenzya said the past 15 years of pressure for sanctions against North Korea had not worked.

Ambassador Vasily Alekseevich Nebenzya of Russia speaks at the UN on Thursday.

“Starting in 2006, many restrictive resolutions were adopted against Pyongyang, but as history has shown us, the sanctions paradigm has still not been able to guarantee security in the region or resolve the missile and nuclear non-proliferation issues,” the Russian envoy said. said.

Prior to the vote, China and Russia had urged Washington to issue a presidential statement instead of introducing the draft Security Council resolution.

But Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador, said China and Russia were not even open to discussing further sanctions against Pyongyang.

“We circulated a draft of this resolution for nine weeks. Meanwhile, countries that vetoed this resolution refused to commit to the text, despite our commitment to inclusiveness and flexibility during consultations,” she said.


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