The United States and its allies clash with Russia and China over North Korea’s failed military spy satellite launch

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United States and its allies clashed with Russia and China on Friday over North Korea’s failure to launch a military spy satellite this week in violation of several UN Security Council resolutions, which Moscow and Beijing have refused to condemn.

The confrontation was the latest over the North’s escalating nuclear, ballistic missile and military programs, which US Deputy Ambassador Robert Wood says threaten international peace and security. The failed launch “not only disrupted maritime and air traffic in the region, but also alarmed its neighbors in Japan and the Republic of Korea,” he said.

Pyongyang threatens another launch soon.

The Security Council imposed sanctions after North Korea’s first nuclear explosion in 2006 and tightened them over the years in a total of 10 resolutions aimed – so far unsuccessfully – at curbing its nuclear missile programs and ballistics and cut funding. In the latest sanctions resolution passed by the council in December 2017, members pledged to further restrict oil exports to North Korea if it launches a ballistic missile capable of reaching intercontinental ranges.

China and Russia vetoed a US-sponsored resolution in May 2022 that would have imposed new sanctions, including on oil exports, over a series of intercontinental ballistic missile launches. Since then, they have blocked all council action, including press releases.

UN political chief Rosemary DiCarlo told the council that the last time North Korea had carried out a satellite launch similar to Wednesday’s failed attempt was on February 7, 2016, and it had been condemned by the Security Council.

“The lack of unity and action in the Security Council does little to slow the negative trajectory on the Korean peninsula,” she said, and North Korea “is not coercion, and the other parties are forced to focus on military deterrence”.

But North Korea’s neighbor and ally China and Russia, which has grown closer to Pyongyang since the war in Ukraine, blamed the West and especially the United States for the current tensions.

China’s deputy ambassador to the UN, Geng Shuang, said the situation on the Korean Peninsula was a holdover from the Cold War. He accused the United States of failing to respond to North Korea’s attempts at dialogue over the years and instead resorting to sanctions and pressure on Pyongyang, missing an opportunity to resolve the nuclear issue.

“By incorporating the (Korean) Peninsula into its Indo-Pacific strategy, the United States has continued its military activities and significantly increased its military presence both on and around the peninsula, seriously harming the strategic security interests of the peninsula and its neighbours. country,” Geng said.

He also pointed to Washington’s recent statement between the United States and South Korea, including plans to send strategic nuclear submarines to the peninsula.

Geng asserted that US policies are “driven by geopolitical interests” and told the council that blaming one party “will only exacerbate conflicts, provocations and inject new uncertainties into the already tense situation on the peninsula”.

He urged the council to pass a resolution circulated by China and Russia in November 2021 that would end a series of sanctions against the North, saying it would be a starting point “to promote de-escalation, mutual trust and solidarity.” ‘unity’ among the 15 members. .

Deputy Russian Ambassador Anna Evstigneeva blamed the increased pressure on North Korea by the United States and its allies for “the spiral of tension that we are currently witnessing”. And she criticized the increasing military activity of the United States, Japan and South Korea, in particular the recent large-scale military exercises between the United States and South Korea, saying they not only destabilize Northeast Asia, but also the Asia-Pacific region as a whole.

Russia is against “the deadlock and the inhumane policy of increasing sanctions pressure”, Evstigneeva said, stressing that the UN resolutions that imposed sanctions also support efforts to resolve the situation in the region. Korean Peninsula through political and diplomatic means.

Russia calls on the United States to take steps to ease tensions and resume dialogue, instead of trying to shift the blame “onto other countries”, she said, also supporting the action of the Council on the China-Russia resolution.

Wood, the US envoy, countered that Washington’s statement was a response to North Korea’s destabilizing nuclear and ballistic missile activities.

“It’s hard to imagine that we would ease sanctions” as the Sino-Russian draft resolution calls for and reward Pyongyang for continuing to violate Security Council resolutions, he said.

On diplomacy, Wood said the United States has repeatedly said it is ready for unconditional dialogue, but North Korea “rejected our interventions many times.”

He stressed that the U.S.-South Korean military exercises are legitimate efforts to defend against escalating Pyongyang activities that allow the country to advance its illegal weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs — and to “continue to choose ammunition over nutrition” for his people.

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