US Accuses Russia, China of Providing ‘Blanket Protection’ to North Korea

The United States criticized China and Russia at the U.N. Security Council on Friday for providing “blanket protection” to North Korea after Pyongyang launched a series of missile tests.
North Korea “has enjoyed blanket protection from two members of this council,” the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, told an emergency council session Friday, without directly naming the countries.
“These members have bent over backwards to justify the DPRK’s repeated violations, and in turn, they have enabled the DPRK and made a mockery of this council,” Thomas-Greenfield said, referring to North Korea’s formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
North Korea has launched 30 missiles since Wednesday, including some that triggered air raid alerts and emergency shelter orders in South Korea and Japan. The barrage included a test Thursday of an intercontinental ballistic missile, which reportedly failed in-flight.
The missile launches are a response to U.S.-South Korea military exercises, which have been expanded in response to recent North Korean weapons tests and other threats.
South Korea scrambled fighter jets Friday after detecting 180 North Korean military flights near the border as tensions on the Korean Peninsula continued to escalate.
Council’s silence called ‘appalling’
The U.N. Security Council met to discuss the matter Friday at the request of the United States, Britain, Albania, France, Ireland and Norway.
The 10 non-permanent members of the Security Council, which include India, Brazil and Mexico, condemned North Korea’s missile launches in a joint statement.
Thomas-Greenfield called North Korea’s 59 ballistic missile launches this year “appalling.”
“Equally appalling is the council’s deafening silence on this issue,” she said of the 15-nation Security Council, which has not issued a statement or ratcheted up sanctions on North Korea for its prohibited behavior.
That has been due to opposition from China and Russia. China has even called for easing sanctions on Pyongyang. And both countries have also pointed to U.S.-South Korean joint military exercises as the cause of heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula, Thomas-Greenfield said.
China’s envoy called on Washington on Friday to stop “unilaterally playing up tensions and confrontation” and to demonstrate its sincerity by responding to North Korea’s “legitimate and reasonable concerns.”

“On the Korean Peninsula issue, the Security Council should play a constructive role rather than always stressing on pressure,” Ambassador Zhang Jun added.

Russia also accused the United States of inflaming tensions.

“We note with regret that recently the situation in the Korean Peninsula has significantly worsened, and the reason for this is clear: the desire of Washington to force Pyongyang to unilaterally disarm by using sanctions and exerting pressure,” said Russian Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations Anna Evstigneeva.

UN condemns North’s missile launches

France’s envoy, Nicolas de Rivière, called for pressure on North Korea to increase over signs the country is preparing a new nuclear test.

“The current escalation is unprecedented, and these new provocations are unacceptable,” he said.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday condemned the North’s missile launches and urged Pyongyang to “cease any further reckless acts.”

“The secretary-general urges the DPRK to immediately return to the negotiating table. He also urged the key parties to resume their diplomatic efforts with a view to achieving sustainable peace and the complete and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” Assistant Secretary-General Mohamed Khaled Khiari said.

Source: Voice of America

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