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US confronts China, Russia at UN over N Korean missile launches | Conflict News

US confronts China, Russia at UN over N Korean missile launches | Conflict News

The United States and its allies have clashed with China and Russia, accusing them of preventing the United Nations Security Council from taking action against North Korea for its increasing ballistic missile launches.

The 15 members of the Security Council failed Friday to agree on a joint statement condemning North Korea’s recent ballistic missile barrage. Instead, a number of countries – including France, the UK and the US – have separately condemned Pyongyang’s ongoing missile tests.

North Korea carried out a record number of missile launches this week, including a intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)bringing the total number of missiles fired to more than 60 so far this year.

US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said 13 of 15 Security Council members had condemned Increasing launches of ballistic missiles in North Korea since the beginning of the year but that Pyongyang is protected by two countries, China and Russia — although she didn’t name them directly.

The two countries have “bent over backwards” to justify repeated violations of UN sanctions by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), the US ambassador said, using North Korea’s official name.

“And, in turn, they allowed the DPRK and scoffed at this advice,” she added.

But China, North Korea’s closest allyand Russia, whose relations with the West deteriorated badly following its invasion of Ukraine, told the UN meeting that the United States was responsible for the continuing tension with North Korea.

Chinese Ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun countered that North Korea’s missile launches were directly linked to the restart of large-scale US and South Korean military exercises after a five-year hiatus, including exercises of the Air Force involving hundreds of warplanes from both countries.

The Chinese ambassador also pointed to the recently released 2022 nuclear posture review by the US Department of Defense which he said considered the use of nuclear weapons by North Korea and that the fall of the regime of Pyongyang was one of the main objectives of the United States.

Russia’s deputy ambassador to the UN, Anna Evstigneeva, blamed the significant deterioration of the situation on the Korean peninsula on “Washington’s willingness to force Pyongyang to disarm unilaterally by using sanctions and exerting pressure and force”. .

She called the U.S.-South Korean military air exercises, which began on October 31, unprecedented in size with around 240 military aircraft and said they were “essentially a rehearsal to carry out massive strikes on the territory of the DPRK”.

In June, Evstigneeva called for the lifting of sanctions against North Korea, saying the country needed more humanitarian aid and less pressure from the West.

North Korea has defended its weapons program and its launching of ballistic missiles as a legitimate defense against what it sees as a decades-old threat from the United States and its ally South Korea.

The US ambassador responded to the Chinese and Russian envoys by saying, “This is nothing but a regurgitation of DPRK propaganda.”

She added that the US and South Korean military drills “do not pose a threat to anyone, let alone the DPRK.”

“In contrast, last month the DPRK said its wave of recent launches was the simulated use of tactical nuclear weapons on the battlefield to ‘strike and annihilate’ potential US and Republican targets. of Korea,” she said.

France’s UN ambassador Nicolas de Rivière called at the meeting on Friday for continued pressure on signs that North Korea is preparing for its seventh nuclear bomb test.

“The current escalation is unprecedented and these new provocations are unacceptable,” he said.

The US Security Council imposed sanctions after First North Korean nuclear explosion in 2006 and has tightened them over the years by seeking to curb Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs and cut off funding.

But in May China and Russia blocked a resolution that would have toughened sanctions on missile launches, in the first serious rift at the North Korea sanctions council.

UN Under-Secretary-General Khaled Khiari has warned that UN Security Council unity on North Korea was essential if progress should be made.

“Security Council unity on this issue is essential to defusing tensions, overcoming the diplomatic stalemate and the negative action-reaction cycle,” Khiari said.

Al Jazeera’s diplomatic editor James Bays, reporting from New York, said the UN Security Council was clearly not unified on its approach to North Korea.

“Certainly many members would like to come up with a joint statement, a strong statement condemning North Korea. But it seems that such a declaration cannot be negotiated because China and Russia oppose it,” he said.