Unfathomable veto by China and Russia

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Unfathomable veto by China and Russia

North Korea has fired 23 missiles, including intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), through 17 rounds so far this year. The country has finished preparations for its seventh nuclear test. But tougher sanctions against North Korea could not be passed at the United Nations Security Council due to vetoes by China and Russia. The two countries have more or less given permission to Pyongyang’s nuclear test. The reasoning by Chinese ambassador to the United Nations, Zhang Jun, to object the new sanctions was preposterous.

The new resolution drafted a day after North Korea launched three missiles, including an ICBM, last week proposed to cut the amount of oil and other fuel North Korea can import.

Of 15 members of the UN Security Council, 13 approved a resolution to enforce tougher sanctions on North Korea in accordance with the provision in Resolution 2397 that calls for strengthened sanctions on fuel imports for North Korea if the recalcitrant country fires an ICBM. But the resolution was blocked by the two permanent members of the Security Council — China and Russia. It is the first time a punitive resolution on North Korea was voted down since the country carried out its first nuclear test in 2006.

The concerns about a new Cold War in which China, Russia and North Korea unite amid the escalating U.S.-China conflict and the West’s confrontation with Russia over its Ukraine invasion may be coming true.

China’s UN envoy Zhang argued that the latest South Korea-U.S. summit in Seoul and the United States’ toughened Indo-Pacific strategy provoked North Korea to resort to missile launches. He warned that Beijing would take a “stern and firm initiative to defend the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and the Asia Pacific region” if there are plans to spread “the flames of war” to Northeast Asia, blaming the U.S. for causing the situation by using the Korean Peninsula as a card for the so-called Indo-Pacific strategy.

Seven decades ago, China backed North Korea in its invasion of South Korea. Yet how a top Chinese envoy could casually speak of “flames of war” cannot be understood.

China as well as Russia have used the North Korean nuclear issue as a leverage for their relationship with the United States. They have blatantly violated UN resolutions aimed at containing North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs. Their veto has given more or less a go-ahead to Pyongyang to conduct another nuclear test. China must take responsibility for helping North Korea complete its dangerous nuclear and missile programs.
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