Russia urges UN to end monitoring of sanctions against North Korea

(United Nations) Russia on Thursday imposed the dissolution of the UN sanctions monitoring system against North Korea and its nuclear program, a coup denounced by the United States and its allies denouncing mutual protection between two countries.

“What Russia cynically did today undermines peace and security in the world, all to promote a corrupted barter that Moscow has sealed” with Pyongyang, on arms in particular, reacted Matthew Miller, spokesperson for the US State Department.

North Korea has been subject to UN Security Council sanctions linked to its nuclear program since 2006, reinforced several times in 2016 and 2017.

But since 2019, Russia and China, highlighting in particular the humanitarian situation of the North Korean population, have called for the reduction of these sanctions, which have no end date.

Having failed to win their case, the Russians targeted the committee of experts responsible for monitoring the application of these measures, a committee whose reports refer to.

Despite several postponements of the vote to allow negotiations, Russia vetoed on Thursday a draft resolution extending the mandate of this committee by one year. The text received 13 votes in favor, with China abstaining.

Russian Ambassador Vassili Nebenzia justified this veto by estimating that, in current conditions, the committee no longer has any reason to exist, focusing on “uninteresting questions not commensurate with the problems facing the peninsula.” .

He had instead proposed to the Council a reassessment of the sanctions regime. “If there was an agreement for an annual renewal of sanctions, the mandate of the expert committee would make sense,” he explained. A proposal supported by China.

“Admission of Guilt”

In its latest 600-page report at the beginning of March, the committee of experts underlines that North Korea continues to “flout the Security Council sanctions”, in particular by developing its nuclear program, by launching ballistic missiles, by violating sanctions maritime and oil import limits.

The committee also claims to have begun to investigate “information” reporting the export by North Korea of ​​“conventional weapons and ammunition” in violation of sanctions, particularly to Russia.

This veto is not a sign of concern for the North Korean population or for the effectiveness of the sanctions. This concerns Russia gaining freedom to violate sanctions in search of weapons to use against Ukraine.

Barbara Woodward, British Ambassador to the UN

This veto “is in fact an admission of guilt. Moscow no longer hides its military cooperation with North Korea (…) as well as the use of North Korean weapons in the war against Ukraine,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba commented on X.

“Russia has now used its veto to put an end to two expert committees, due to the development of its military relations with these governments,” denounced in a joint statement the United States, France, Japan, South Korea and United Kingdom, in reference to Mali.

Last August, showing its support for Bamako, Russia blocked a resolution which would have extended the mandate of the experts who had delivered damning conclusions for the Malian junta and its “foreign security partners”.

“There can be no justification for the disappearance of the guardians of the sanctions regime,” South Korean Ambassador Joonkook Hwang lambasted Thursday. “It’s like destroying surveillance cameras to prevent being caught red-handed.”


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