Fourteen United Nations Security Council members have condemned a recent intercontinental ballistic missile launch from North Korea but fell short of issuing a formal condemnation from the entire UN security council due to pushback from China and Russia.
Following the failed vote to formally condemn North Korea, the United States and 13 other allied criticized China and Russia for “protecting North Korea.” The 14 nations said the security council must “take action to limit the DPRK’s unlawful weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile advancement, especially as it relates to nuclear missile technologies. We invite all member states to join us in condemning the DPRK’s unlawful ballistic missile launches and call for full implementation of the existing Security Council resolutions.”
The US Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, went further when speaking to reporters as she was leaving the United Nations. She said, “For too long, the DPRK has acted with impunity. It has conducted escalatory and destabilizing ballistic missile launches without fear of a response or reprisal from this council. This is the 10th time [this year] that we have met without significant actions. The reason is simple: Two veto-wielding members of the council are enabling and emboldening the DPRK. These two members’ blatant obstructionism put the northeast Asian region and the entire world at risk.”
China and Russia respond:
Both China and Russia’s ambassadors criticized the United States for “provoking” North Korea. They both pointed to recent military drills in the region as the culprit for rising tensions.
In a statement, Chinese Ambassador Zhang Jun called on the United States to stop conducting military exercises that push North Korea to hold military drills and tests in retaliation. The Ambassador also called on the United States to “ease sanctions against the DPRK.”
Russia’s deputy permanent representative to the U.N., Anna Evstigneeva, said, “The US and the allies hold large-scale military drills in the region, the DPRK expectably retaliates, and we gather here to discuss it. The thing is that with every new circle, the positions and steps of the sides become ever more audacious and dangerous for the international peace and security. In our view, the reason for this is obvious – Washington’s desire to force Pyongyang to a unilateral disarmament through sanctions and pressure. The US, South Korea, and Japan have enhanced their military exercises in the region in the framework of the new concept of “extended deterrence.” On the eve of the recent DPRK launch, the naval forces of the United States and the Republic of Korea conducted exercises for missile defense systems using destroyer ships. At the same time, they also carried out exercises using strategic bomber aircraft and drills to practice strikes against North Korean ballistic missile launchers. We have closely followed the remarks by the US representative today. No miracle will happen if the US and its allies only choose to proceed with military measures and further threaten with sanctions.”
This all comes as North Korea has vowed to step up its military drills in the region due to “aggression” from The United States and South Korea. Western intelligence agencies are also bracing for what could be the country’s seventh nuclear test, with some intelligence officials saying that it could happen at any time. US defense officials have signaled that the US will have a coordinated response to any potential nuclear test in the region with their allies, Japan and South Korea.