russia “blocks” UNSC statement on NK

UNSC diplomats say Russia blocked NK statement
AP, Jul 6 2017

SEOUL – UN diplomats say Russia has blocked a UNSC statement that would strongly condemn NK’s launch of a ICBM and renew a pledge to take “further significant measures.” The diplomats said China had agreed to the text. They said discussions were continuing Thursday. According to one diplomat, Russia objected because the proposed statement said the launch was of an ICBM. Russia’s deputy UN ambassador, Vladimir Safronkov, told an emergency UNSC meeting on Wednesday that the launch “requires thorough clarification and investigation” and indicated it might have been a medium-range missile. Thousands of NK rallied in Kim Il Sung square in Pyongyang to celebrate the launch of their country’s first ICBM. The rally Thursday was followed by a fireworks display along the Taedonggang, a river that runs through the capital. NK state media have been running daily reports hailing the launch, which was supervised by leader Kim Jong Un and timed to coincide with the Independence Day holiday in Pindostan. The successful test launch of the missile, called the Hwasong 14, is a major milestone in NK’s long-term effort to build a missile that could carry a nuclear warhead to attack Pindostan. NK often stages rallies in the square to mark events that it wants to underscore as particularly significant. A similar rally was held last month on the anniversary of the beginning of the 1950-53 Korean War. The leaders of the EU and Japan have called for tougher measures against NK after it test-launched its first ICBM. The leaders said at a summit in Brussels:

(We) stand ready to strengthen measures aimed at further restricting the transfer of relevant items and technologies and funding for NK’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs. … To that end, we call for the early adoption of a new and comprehensive UNSCR.

Pindostan told an emergency session of the UNSC that the world must do more to “cut off the major sources of hard currency to the NK regime.” Japanese PM Shinzo Abe says Japan and NATO should strengthen cooperation as the international security environment worsens. At the start of a visit Thursday to NATO HQ, Abe referred to NK’s missile development and territorial disputes in the East and South China seas, saying:

We must reinforce the foundation among Japan, Pindostan and Europe that share common principles and values by further strengthening Japan-NATO relations.

Japan has worked more closely with NATO in the areas of defense and cyber-security in recent years, and Abe said Japan is now considering formally opening a NATO Japanese representative office. Pres Trump says he’s considering some “very severe things” to respond to NK’s test launch of an ICBM. But he adds that that doesn’t mean he’s going to follow through on them. Trump said in Warsaw, Poland, that he wants to look at what happens over the coming weeks and months and calls NK’s behavior “a shame.” Trump says NK is behaving in a “very, very dangerous manner” and that something will have to be done about it. NK launched the missile earlier this week. The issue will be a topic of discussion when Trump meets with world leaders in Germany later this week. The NATO alliance has demanded that NK immediately halt its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs, two days after the country test-launched its first ICBM. NATO Sec-Gen Stoltenberg’s statement welcoming Japanese PM Shinzo Abe to Brussels called on NK to “abandon all existing weapons of mass destruction programs once and for all and engage in real dialogue.” Many NATO allies have openly criticized the test. Trump, speaking in Poland on Thursday, called on nations to confront NK’s “very, very bad behavior.”

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