Non-proliferation/Democratic People's Republic of Korea  - Security Council, 9048th meeting
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Non-proliferation/Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

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China, Russian Federation Denounce Sanctions as ‘Inhumane’, Rejecting Text That Would Have Condemned Fresh Round of Ballistic Missile Launches

In a late-breaking meeting today, the Security Council failed to adopt a resolution that would have strengthened sanctions on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea over its recent ballistic missile launches, with the representatives of China and the Russian Federation denouncing the measure as counterproductive and inhumane.

The draft — tabled by the United States — garnered support from 13 members, but was ultimately vetoed by China and the Russian Federation.  Had it passed, the Council would have condemned in the strongest terms the 24 March intercontinental ballistic missile launch by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, as well as a series of other launches, as being in flagrant disregard of its own resolutions.

“This is a threat to the peace and security of the entire international community,” the representative of the United States said before the vote.  “The Council committed to respond to exactly this type of escalation.”  She cited resolution 2397 (2017), by which delegates resolved to take measures in the event of another intercontinental ballistic missile launch, and noted that Pyongyang has carried out six such tests in 2022 alone without a word from the Council.  “We cannot let this become the new norm,” she said.

Objecting to the draft resolution, China’s representative said his delegation rejected the text as it aimed to impose new sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  “Reliance on sanctions will not help to resolve the Peninsula issue,” he insisted, recalling that the Council has adopted 10 such resolutions against Pyongyang, establishing its harshest and most complex sanctions regime.

China has always insisted on resolving issues through dialogue and consultation, he explained.  With that in mind, his country and the Russian Federation proposed a draft resolution that would alleviate the livelihood and humanitarian challenges facing the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  He blamed today’s tensions on “flip‑flop” policies of the United States in whether to engage with Pyongyang, based on the “action for action” principle, as well as Washington, D.C.’s, failure to uphold the outcomes of previous dialogues.

The Russian Federation’s delegate, meanwhile, said his delegation’s appeals to convert the draft into a presidential statement were not heeded.  He underscored the inhumanity of tightening the sanctions, stressing that the many restrictions imposed since 2006 have yet to guarantee security in the region or resolve nuclear tensions.  Pyongyang’s repeated appeals to end hostile activities have not been taken seriously and he voiced regret over the Council’s inability to seek alternate paths, including through diplomatic initiatives put forward by his country and China.

Several delegations expressed regret over the vote’s outcome, with Japan’s representative noting that he found the reasons of those who voted against the draft unconvincing.  He asked what the Security Council is for if not to act in such cases.  Recalling the unanimous adoption of resolution 2397 (2017), he said the inconsistent behaviour of Council members undermines the organ’s credibility.  If left unchecked, added the Republic of Korea’s delegate, such actions will undermine the very foundation of the global non-proliferation regime.

Albania’s delegate rebuked the Council for missing an opportunity to deliver a robust response to repeated violations of its own resolutions, while Mexico’s representative added that today’s use of the veto prompts the General Assembly to debate that decision, as resolution 76/262 gives it a standing mandate to do so.

Also speaking today were representatives of Kenya, Ireland, Ghana, Norway, Brazil, United Kingdom, Gabon and France.

The meeting began at 4:45 p.m. and ended at 6:07 p.m.