China and Russia blocked efforts to impose tougher sanctions on North Korea at the U.S.-led United Nations Security Council on Thursday after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un conducted a series of missile tests this year, including the launch of several intercontinental ballistic missiles. missile.
Both China and Russia have veto powers at the UN Security Council, exercised after the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea’s official name) introduced tougher sanctions.
Zhang Jun, Chinese Ambassador to the United Nations, Speaking at a UN meeting on Thursday “Today’s draft resolution failed to pass” because the United States rejected proposals other than imposing sanctions.
“China’s voting position is based on our assessment of whether the proposal will help solve the problem,” Zhang said. “Maybe some people just want this situation, based on their cynical intentions.”
The United States and South Korea have led the push in recent weeks for tougher U.N. sanctions on North Korea after the regime fired more than 15 missiles this year. If the effort passes, the United Nations will tighten sanctions on North Korea for the first time since 2017.
North Korea follows President Biden’s weekend visit to East Asia At least three ballistic missiles fired off the east coast Wednesday morning local time.
Tensions have risen between Russia and the United States during the Ukraine war, while U.S.-China relations have been strained over Taiwan’s status and China’s treatment of Uighur Muslims and other ethnic minorities in the country.
With North Korea already on the brink of famine and reportedly in the midst of a COVID-19 outbreak, Russia and China have proposed a counter-resolution that would ease humanitarian sanctions on North Korea.
But U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield slammed both countries’ proposals earlier this monthsaying “this council should not support it.”
On Thursday, Thomas Greenfield said Kim Jong-un had launched six intercontinental ballistic missiles and that the veto power of Russia and China “protected” North Korea, despite North Korea’s violation of United Nations Security Council policy.
“Therefore, China can explain their actions to the assembly together with Russia,” the U.S. ambassador said in a brief remarks.
The number of missile tests this year has also alarmed North Korea’s neighbors Japan and South Korea. Biden met with South Korea’s newly elected president and with Japan’s prime minister during his visit to East Asia.
South Korea’s ambassador to the United Nations, Oh Jun, said the resolution to impose tougher sanctions was “long overdue.”
“This could send the wrong signal to North Korea and other countries [nuclear-proliferating nations] They can do whatever they want with impunity,” Oh said. “Uncontrolled provocation will only fuel North Korea’s continued escalation. “