UN Security Council takes no action on North missile launch
A United Nations Security Council meeting held in New York on Thursday to discuss North Korea's recent test of an intermediate-range ballistic missile ended without any further action taken against the recalcitrant regime.
The closed-door emergency meeting of the Security Council on Feb. 4 was convened at the request of the United States in response to Pyongyang's launch of a Hwasong-12 intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM) on Jan. 30, which fueled concern that the nuclear-armed North is now testing missiles with longer ranges than those launched during six tests earlier in the past month.
The latest test, which took place in Mupyong-ri, Jagang Province, near the border with China, involved a missile with a greater range than any missile tested since 2017, when the North declared a moratorium on nuclear tests and missile launches — a suspension that the North said it was considering scrapping through its state media last month.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un proclaimed Pyongyang will no longer be bound to this self-imposed moratorium in January 2020, after denuclearization negotiations with Washington collapsed during the Hanoi summit in February 2019, but has stuck to shorter-range missile tests over the past two years.
Thursday's meeting of the Security Council was the third to take place in response to the slew of missile tests conducted by the North beginning this year. Previous meetings of the council took place on Jan. 10, after the North tested hypersonic cruise missiles, and Jan. 20, after the North fired short-range ballistic missiles, but they, too, ended without additional sanctions against Pyongyang. Both meetings were convened at the request of the United States.
Under previous Security Council resolutions, the North is prohibited from conducting tests of ballistic missile technology, but not cruise missiles.
Although Washington called on the Security Council to sign onto a statement condemning the launches at Thursday's meeting, China and Russia, along with other nations, refused to give their approval, according to diplomatic sources who spoke to Agence France-Presse.
After Thursday's meeting of the Security Council ended without further action being adopted to penalize the North for its continued missile tests, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield, along with ambassadors from eight countries, including Britain, France and Japan, issued a statement criticizing North Korea's launch of mid-range ballistic missiles.
"The cost of the Council's ongoing silence is too high," Thomas-Greenfield said, adding, "It will embolden the DPRK to further defy the international community; to normalize its violations of Security Council resolutions; to further destabilize the region; and to continue to threaten international peace and security. This is an outcome that we should not accept."
China's envoy to the United Nations called on the United States to be more flexible in its dealings with North Korea.
"If they do want to see some new breakthrough, they should show more sincerity and flexibility," China¡¯s ambassador to the UN, Zhang Jun, said before Thursday's closed-door meeting.
"They should come up with more attractive and more practical, more flexible approaches, policies and actions and accommodating the concerns of the DPRK," Zhang told reporters, using acronym for the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
BY MICHAEL LEE [firstname.lastname@example.org]