Russia vetoes a UN resolution monitoring sanctions on North Korea

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Russia vetoed a U.N. resolution Thursday in a move that effectively eliminates U.N. experts' monitoring of U.N. sanctions against Iran. North Korea aims to curb its nuclear programAlthough the same sanctions remain in place.

The vote in Russia sparked Western accusations Moscow is working to protect its purchases of weapons from North Korea for use in its war against Ukraine, which violates United Nations sanctions.

Tensions have risen on the Korean Peninsula with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un threatens nuclear conflict and escalating tests of nuclear-capable missiles designed to target South Korea, the United States, and Japan. The three countries responded by strengthening their joint military exercises and updating their deterrence plans.

The vote in the 15-member Council came with a majority of 13 votes, with Russia opposing and China abstaining from voting. The Security Council resolution would have extended the mandate of the panel of experts for a year, but Russia's veto will halt its work when its current mandate expires at the end of April.

Russia's UN Ambassador Vasily Nebenzia told the council before the vote that Western countries are trying to “suffocate” North Korea and that sanctions are losing their “relevance” and are “detached from reality” in preventing the spread of nuclear weapons in the country.

He accused the expert committee of “increasingly becoming a plaything in the hands of Western approaches, reprinting biased information and analyzing newspaper headlines and poor-quality photos.” Therefore, he said, it “fundamentally admits its inability to reach sober assessments of the state of the sanctions regime.”

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But US Deputy Ambassador Robert Wood described the committee's work as necessary and accused Russia of trying to silence its “independent, objective investigations” because it “began last year to report on blatant Russian violations of UN Security Council resolutions.”

He warned that a Russian veto would encourage North Korea to continue endangering global security through the development of “long-range ballistic missiles and efforts to evade sanctions.”

White House National Security spokesman John Kirby condemned the Russian veto as a “reckless act” that undermines sanctions imposed on North Korea, while warning against deepening cooperation between North Korea and Russia, especially since North Korea continues to supply Russia with weapons While fighting its war in Ukraine.

“The international community must firmly support the global non-proliferation regime and support the people of Ukraine as they defend their freedom and independence against brutal Russian aggression,” Kirby told reporters.

British Ambassador to the United Nations Barbara Woodward said that the Russian veto comes in the wake of arms deals between Russia and North Korea in violation of UN sanctions, including “the transfer of ballistic missiles, which Russia then used in its illegal invasion of Ukraine since early this year.” .

She added: “This veto does not show concern for the North Korean people or the effectiveness of sanctions.” He added: “This is about Russia having the freedom to evade and violate sanctions in order to obtain weapons for use against Ukraine.”

“This committee, by its word to expose non-compliance with sanctions, has been a nuisance to Russia,” Woodward said.

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French Ambassador to the United Nations Nicolas de Rivière added, “North Korea is supplying Russia with military materials to support its aggression against Ukraine, in violation of many of the resolutions that Russia voted for.”

The Security Council imposed sanctions after North Korea's first nuclear explosion in 2006 and has tightened them over the years in a total of 10 resolutions that seek – so far unsuccessfully – to reduce funds and curb its nuclear and missile programs.

The Council last adopted a resolution on sanctions in December 2017. China and Russia vetoed a US-sponsored resolution in May 2022 that would have imposed new sanctions on a series of intercontinental ballistic missile launches.

The Security Council formed a committee to monitor sanctions, and the mandate of its group of experts to investigate violations was renewed for 14 years until Thursday.

In its latest report, which was distributed last month, it said: A panel of experts said it was investigating 58 suspected cyberattacks in North Korea Between 2017 and 2023 it is estimated to be worth $3 billion, with the money reportedly being used to help finance the development of weapons of mass destruction.

Experts said North Korea continues to violate sanctions, including by continuing to develop its nuclear weapons and producing nuclear fissile material, the main components of weapons. It also continues to import refined petroleum products in violation of Council decisions.

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