Russia blocks Security Council response to North Korea's failed missile test
Planned statement lacked reference to 'dialogue' in response to Pyongyang
ARIANA KING, Nikkei staff writer
UNITED NATIONS -- A U.N. Security Council statement condemning North Korea's latest attempted missile launch was obstructed Wednesday following Russian objections to its tough stance.
The statement would have demanded an immediate end to violations of Security Council resolutions sanctioning the North's nuclear and ballistic missile programs and underscored the "vital importance" of Pyongyang "immediately showing sincere commitment to denuclearization."
Russia objected to the removal of language promoting a settlement "through dialogue," according to diplomatic sources.
North Korea's failed test of a ballistic missile Sunday came the day after a major military parade in celebration of the birth anniversary of the country's founder, Kim Il Sung. The missile exploded shortly after launch.
A previous Security Council statement, released two days after Pyongyang's April 4 missile test launch, noted the commitment of council members to "a peaceful, diplomatic and political solution to the situation and welcomed efforts by council members, as well as other states, to facilitate a peaceful and comprehensive solution through dialogue."
The current statement was drafted by the U.S. -- which is presiding over the council for the month of April -- and takes a stronger position than previous council statements.
"I think it's important that North Korea knows we're not trying to pick a fight, so don't try and give us one," U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley told reporters while leaving a meeting of the council Wednesday. "The ball is in their court. They shouldn't try and play at this point."
China, a permanent member of the Security Council and one of North Korea's closest allies, had agreed to the statement, according to a Security Council diplomat.
Following a council meeting Tuesday, Chinese ambassador to the U.N. Liu Jieyi warned against any actions that would lead to an escalation on the Korean Peninsula.
"The situation there is very tense," Liu said. "It is important to de-escalate tension and avoid any provocative language or action."
The U.S. has scheduled a high-level open meeting of the Security Council on North Korean nonproliferation for April 28. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will make opening remarks at the meeting, which will be chaired by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.