UN: China and Russia block US request for sanctions against five North Koreans

China and Russia on Thursday blocked at the United Nations a US request last week to impose sanctions on five North Koreans, one of whom live in Russia and the other four on Chinese soil, in response to the North’s recent missile strikes.

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The 15 members of the Security Council had until 8:00 pm GMT to decide on the US request. The Chinese blockade came two hours before a new closed-door meeting of the Security Council on North Korea, at Washington’s request. Diplomats told AFP that Russia was also followed by opposition to the US proposal.

When asked about Beijing and Moscow’s opposition before the council meeting – the second in 11 days – US Ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfield denounced giving Pyongyang a “blank check”.

We have these penalties for a reason. The fact that one of the member states opposes the imposition of sanctions (…) gives, in my opinion, a blank check to North Korea,” she said, considering it “important.” to send a “unified message” to this country to stop its tests.

Under UN rules, the Sino-Russian blockade lasts six months. At the end of the term, a member of the Security Council can extend it for three months, and then an additional day before the proposal vanishes from the UN table forever.

With Beijing, Moscow has long been on the line not to escalate pressure on Pyongyang, and even to request relief from international sanctions for humanitarian purposes.

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On January 12, Washington imposed sanctions on the five North Koreans involved and then asked the UN Sanctions Committee responsible for North Korea to extend its individual measures to include those five people.

Any decision taken by the sanctions committee must have the unanimous consent of the 15 members of the Security Council, all of whom are members of it.

reject the Beijing Declaration

The Treasury Department has identified the five North Korean nationals imposed by Washington on sanctions (asset freeze, travel ban) as Choi Myung-hyun, who is based in Russia, Sim Kwang-suk, Kim Sung-hoon, Kang Chul-hak, and Byun Kwang-chul, who live in China. .

Washington accuses the five people of being linked to Pyongyang’s weapons of mass destruction program.

The Chinese diplomatic mission did not immediately respond to a request for comment. China on Monday reopened its border with North Korea to transport goods after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We need more time to study the data,” Russia’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Dmitry Polyansky, told AFP.

Last week, with no consensus reached on a unanimous statement from the Security Council at its first meeting, the United States, Albania, France, Ireland and the United Kingdom, along with Japan, jointly called on North Korea “to refrain from any further destabilizing action” After launching a hypersonic missile.

North Korea responded to this injunction by firing fresh shots.

On Thursday, the same countries, joined by Brazil and the United Arab Emirates, the two new non-permanent members of the Security Council, issued a joint statement urging members of this body to show a “unified position of condemnation”. Pyongyang.

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According to diplomats, the United States proposed to its partners to adopt a short declaration on the occasion of their new meeting, but China, according to the same sources, refused this.

This three-sentence text, obtained by AFP, was limited to a reminder that North Korea’s recent launches “using ballistic missile technology violate Security Council resolutions.” He also strongly called on North Korea to fulfill its obligations imposed by the Security Council and open dialogue for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Earlier on Thursday, Pyongyang threatened a possible resumption of its long-range nuclear and ballistic missile tests, during a meeting of the Politburo led by Kim Jong Un, which was prepared for a “prolonged confrontation” with the United States.

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