| 2 March 2024, Saturday |

US fails to get China to back UN text against North Korea

The US and its European allies in the UN Security Council failed to persuade China and Russia to support a statement condemning North Korea’s “violations” of UN resolutions on missile technology on Monday.

Pyongyang conducted a test Saturday for what it claimed was a reconnaissance satellite, but observers believed was a thinly veiled ballistic missile launch, just days before the South Korean presidential election.

After a closed-door Security Council meeting, US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield told AFP, “We would love to have China and Russia join us in this chamber” to endorse the document.

With the support of ten other ambassadors, including non-Security Council members Australia and Japan, Thomas-Greenfield read a document declaring that the group is “unified today in denouncing the DPRK’s March 5 (local time) launch of a ballistic missile.”


“This act by the DPRK, like the ten other ballistic missile launches since the beginning of the year, violated multiple Security Council resolutions,” she said.

“As the DPRK’s destabilizing acts grow, the Security Council remains deafeningly silent.”

“Each ballistic missile launch that results in the Security Council’s inaction erodes the UN Security Council’s credibility,” Thomas-Greenfield added, without addressing China or Russia.

According to diplomats, the two countries were the only ones at Monday’s conference who were against the short, “basic” wording.


According to a diplomat who spoke on the condition of anonymity to AFP, the letter stated that the Security Council had met, that there had been “violations” of the Council’s resolutions, and that discussion was needed.

Since 2017, when the Security Council unanimously enacted sanctions in an effort to convince Pyongyang to suspend its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, China has vetoed the adoption of a US- and European-proposed text against North Korea 17 times.

“We stand ready to collaborate and identify a mutually agreeable method to address the DPRK’s provocations with other Council Members,” Thomas-Greenfield said.

“But let us begin with the basic assumption that the Security Council has a responsibility to speak openly about clear and recurrent violations of Security Council resolutions,” she continued, urging other members to denounce “these dangerous and unlawful conduct.”

Pyongyang has rebuffed US offers of talks since high-profile conversations with leader Kim Jong Un and then-US president Donald Trump ended in 2019, according to Thomas-Greenfield.

Instead of dialogue, Pyongyang has redoubled its efforts to modernize its military, threatening to end a self-imposed moratorium on long-range missile and nuclear tests in January.

  • AFP