North Korea Escapes UN Sanctions Through Russia and China

North Korea escaped new United Nations sanctions recently when China and Russia issued vetoes blocking a resolution presented by the U.S.

The proposed sanctions would have been issued in response to continuing North Korean tests of intercontinental ballistic missile systems that could carry nuclear warheads.

The entire U.N. Security Council made up of 15 nations voted on such resolutions. Thirteen members voted in favor of the new sanctions resolution with China and Russia providing the only negative votes. There are five nations on the security council with veto power: the U.S., the U.K., France, China, and Russia.

The security council voted unanimously in 2006 to impose sanctions on reclusive North Korea after its first successful nuclear explosive test. Since then, there have been 10 additional sanctions resolutions that have been in response to continuing North Korean nuclear tests and development of its ballistic missile weapons systems.

Following their vetoes, representatives of the Chinese and Russian governments said they are against placing more sanctions against North Korea and said more dialogue is needed between that country and diplomats from the U.S.

America’s Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield said that while she was disappointed by the negative votes from Russia and China, she was not surprised. She described the 23 separate tests performed by North Korea so far this year as a “grave threat to international peace and security.”

Thomas-Greenfield went on to say that the North Korean government presents the entire world a “clear and present danger.”

When the security council last issued new sanctions against North Korea in December 2017, the measure provided that the body would be committed to placing further restrictions on fossil fuel exports from the nation if it continued with its hostile ballistic missile testing.

As the recent vote approached, Thomas-Greenfield negotiated directly with diplomats from nations on the security council to fulfill the requirements of the 2017 resolution.

The Chinese Ambassador to the U.N. Zhang Jun said that the U.S. is at fault for not following through in kind in response to “positive initiatives” begun by North Korea. That statement apparently refers to progress made during talks between the Trump administration and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il in 2018 and 2019.

The Chinese diplomat went on to say that it is the responsibility of the U.S. to restart negotiations with the North Koreans in search of a new peace treaty between North and South Korea. He blamed the U.S. for failing to “uphold the results of previous dialogues.”