Russia and China on May 26 vetoed a vote pushed by the United States to strengthen sanctions on North Korea, dividing the United Nations Security Council for the first time since 2006.
The vote in the 15-member Security Council was 13–2 and followed a string of ballistic missile launches by Pyongyang.
To be adopted by the UN Security Council, a resolution needs nine “yes” votes and no vetoes by the permanent members of Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom, or the United States.
China and Russia, both permanent members of the Security Council and neighbors of North Korea have opposed the latest measure and called for sanctions to be eased.
“We do not think additional sanctions will be helpful in responding to the current situation. It can only make the situation even worse,” China’s U.N. Ambassador Zhang Jun told reporters earlier Thursday ahead of the vote.
China has instead proposed that the council adopt a formal statement instead of a sanctions resolution.
Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told Reuters on Wednesday that he did not believe U.N. action would be “very conducive” to engagement with North Korea.
The draft resolution voted on Thursday called for, among other things, a reduction in the amount of crude oil that North Korea can legally import every year from four million to three million barrels, as well as a reduction in exports of refined petroleum products from 500,000 barrels a year to 375,000 barrels.
It would also ban the North from exporting mineral fuels, mineral oils, and mineral waxes, and halt the sale or transfer of all tobacco products to North Korea and tighten maritime sanctions.
A global assets freeze would also be placed on Lazarus Group, Korea Namgang Trading Corporation, and Haegumgang Trading Corporation.
Kim Su Il, an alleged employee of the Munitions Industry Department (MID) who is responsible for overseeing the development of the North’s ballistic missiles would also be added to the sanctions blacklist.
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield said she was disappointed by the vetoes from Russia and China, which had not blocked any of the prior nine sanction votes made since 2006.
“I am beyond disappointed that the Council has not been able to unify in opposition the DPRK’s unlawful WMD and ballistic missile programs. And that failure rests on China and Russia alone,” Thomas-Greenfield said in a statement after the vote.
The U.S. Ambassador added that the UN’s commitment to the defense of its allies, Japan, and the Republic of Korea, is “ironclad” and it encourages member states to “fully implement existing resolutions and will continue to work with our allies and partners to uphold the sanctions on the DPRK.”
“We will continue to seek unity and compromise here at the United Nations in response to the DPRK’s unlawful WMD and ballistic missile advancements. And in the absence of such unity, we will also continue to consider unilateral actions, and those coordinated with our close allies and partners, including sanctions,” Thomas-Greenfield said.
“The United States will not stand down as long as Kim Jung-Un continues his unlawful WMD and ballistic missile program and seeks to threaten regional and global security with more destabilizing ballistic missile launches.”
China’s ambassador to the U.N., Zhang Jun, said that “dialogue and negotiations” are the only viable way in which to solve the issue.
Meanwhile, Russian Ambassador to the U.N. Vasily Alekseevich Nebenzya said that the United States had failed to consider Russia’s “repeated clarifications” regarding the draft resolution at recent UNSC meetings in which it states that it would not support such sanctions.
Nebenzya also stated that the West had blamed the deteriorating situation in the Korean Peninsula on North Korean authorities while ignoring “the fact that Pyongyang’s repeated calls to the US to stop its hostile activities, which would unlock dialogue opportunities, were never taken seriously.”
“Enhanced sanctions pressure on Pyongyang is not only futile but also dangerous in terms of possible humanitarian implications,” Nebenzya said.
North Korea has launched 17 missile tests this year alone.
From The Epoch Times