China and Russia say US fueling tensions over North Korea
China and Russia say the United States is fueling tensions over North Korea, as Pyongyang has recently increased its missile tests.
Last month, China, the North’s closest ally, and Russia, whose relations with the West have sharply deteriorated over its military operation in Ukraine, vetoed a US-led push at the UN to toughen sanctions on North Korea over its renewed ballistic missile launches.
They said at the time that they would have preferred a non-binding statement instead of a fresh resolution against Pyongyang.
Veto-wielding China and Russia are opposed to further sanctions on the North and emphasize dialog is the only possible way to defuse tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
During a landmark UN General Assembly session on Wednesday, Beijing and Moscow again took aim at Washington, denouncing it for triggering tensions on the sensitive region.
The session was held for Beijing and Moscow to explain their reasons for their veto decisions against the US draft resolution at the UN Security Council last month that would have imposed new sanctions on North Korea.
Tension on the Korean Peninsula has “developed to what it is today, primarily due to the flip flop of US policies,” said China’s UN Ambassador Zhang Jun, as he hit out at Washington's approach toward Pyongyang.
He then made a plea for easing sanctions against North Korea.
“There are many things that the US can do, such as easing sanctions on the DPRK (North Korea) in certain areas, and ending joint military exercises (with South Korea). The key is to take actions, not just talk about its readiness for dialogue with no preconditions,” Zhang further said.
Russia’s Deputy UN Ambassador Anna Evstigneeva also called for the removal of the sanctions, saying North Korea needs more humanitarian aid and the West should stop blaming Pyongyang for tensions.
North Korea, which has been under rounds of crushing UN sanctions since 2006 over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, has ramped up its missile launches this year, conducting well over a dozen weapons tests, including of an intercontinental ballistic missile (IBM) at full range for the first time since 2017, and eight short range ballistic missiles toward the sea off its east coast earlier this weeks.
Despite UN claims that the imposed sanctions would not affect the delivery of desperately-needed humanitarian aid to North Korea, relief organizations say that strict trade and banking measures have hindered the flow of such vital supplies.