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US calls for UNSC action against N. Korean satellite launch, says China, Russia's opposition is 'troubling'

By Yonhap

Published : Aug. 26, 2023 - 10:53

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US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield is seen speaking during a UN Security Council meeting in New York on Friday. (UNSC) US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield is seen speaking during a UN Security Council meeting in New York on Friday. (UNSC)

WASHINGTON -- The United States' envoy to the United Nations called on the UN Security Council to condemn North Korea's recent failed satellite launch on Friday, while insisting that China and Russia's refusal to hold North Korea accountable for its actions is encouraging the recalcitrant country to continue making provocations.

The US envoy. Thomas Linda-Greenfield, said China and Russia's refusal to condemn North Korean provocations is "troubling."

"I urge every council member every single member of this council to condemn this launch and discourage the DPRK from conducting another test," the US diplomat told a UNSC meeting in New York.

The emergency meeting comes after North Korea made its second failed attempt to launch what it claims would have been its first military reconnaissance satellite on Thursday.

"This should be an issue that unifies us. We have all reaffirmed our commitment to the global non-proliferation regime time and time again. But since the beginning of 2022, this council has failed to live up to its commitments because of China and Russia's obstructionism," Thomas-Greenfield said.

More than a dozen UNSC meetings have been held since the start of last year to discuss North Korean provocations, including an unprecedented 69 ballistic missile tests in 2022. China and Russia, both close neighbors of North Korea, have vetoed all proposed actions against North Korea in those meetings.

"This is a relatively new phenomenon here and an increasingly troubling one, I have to say," said Thomas-Greenfield, noting that both China and Russia had voted in favor of UNSC resolutions on North Korea in 2017.

"Russia and China are not living up to their responsibility to maintain international peace and security. Instead, they are celebrating, celebrating violations of Security Council resolutions and continuing to block council action," she added.

The US ambassador stressed a need for the UNSC to take "unequivocal" action.

"We must unequivocally and denounce the DPRK's unlawful behavior. We must call on the DPRK to fully and faithfully implement all relevant Security Council resolutions and we must address the DPRK global revenue generating activities, which fund its unlawful weapons program," she said, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Friday's UNSC meeting ended without any concrete outcome, again due to explicit opposition from China and Russia.

"Clearly, the convening of today's meeting is a merely a cynical, hypocritical attempt by the US and allies to step up pressure on Pyongyang and to detract attention from the reckless escalatory actions of Washington and its allies in the region, who represent the real sources of threats to international peace and security," a Russian envoy to the United Nations told the meeting through an interpreter.

China echoed the sentiment.

"Several parties, including the US, have been continually engaged in military activities," a Chinese envoy said, referring to the US' joint military exercises with South Korea and Japan.

"Notwithstanding the reflex of certain countries to pin all the blame on the DPRK as usual, it must be pointed out that the DPRK's recent launches are closely linked to the military activities of certain relevant countries," the Chinese diplomat added, while speaking through an interpreter.

North Korea's envoy to the United Nations claimed that it was the country's sovereign right to launch a satellite, while accusing the US and its allies of escalating nuclear tension in the region.

"As we made it clear time and again, our launch of the reconnaissance satellite is an exercise of the legitimate right to self-defense to deter ever increasing hostile military act of the United States and its followers," the North Korean diplomat told the UNSC meeting.

The North Korean envoy said the country will "more vigorously exercise its legitimate right" to launch a satellite should the US continue its hostile policy toward North Korea.

Pyongyang said earlier that it plans to take its third attempt at putting a military satellite into orbit in October. (Yonhap)