UNGA debates Russia veto on North Korea sanctions panel


Anjali Sharma

GG News Bureau
UN General Assembly on Thursday debated Russia’s veto on the Security Council resolution which blocked renewal of the sanctions panel that monitors the North Korea nuclear weapon and missile programmes.

World body to examine veto use among the Security Council’s permanent members – China, France, Russia, United Kingdom and United States – including on the situation in Gaza regarding a US veto.

Russia vetoed action to renew the panel of experts’ mandate to assist the Council’s DPRK sanctions committee.

Current sanctions include an arms embargo and measures to prevent the proliferation of nuclear, ballistic missiles and other mass destruction-related programmes.

President of General Assembly Dennis Francis told ambassadors that the recurring use of the veto undermines international peace and security.

The spectre of nuclear conflict must compel us to move from rhetoric to tangible action,” he said.

He recalled his visit in October to the demilitarized zone between the DPRK and South Korea underlined that the current situation is tense.

Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said his delegation had vetoed the draft resolution tabled by the United States for a number of reasons, among them that extending the panel of experts’ mandate would not contribute to normalizing the situation on the Korean Peninsula.

“The basic mechanisms of the sanctions are failing,” he said, noting that all other restrictive measures against States are subject to review, but none of that applies to DPRK. “The indefinite maintenance of draconian measures is doomed to fail.”

The panel had been reduced to kowtowing to Western powers amid aggressive propaganda and sabre rattling, he said.

He underlined that the sanctions have had severe humanitarian consequences.

He said Russia plans to submit shortly a draft resolution to extend the panel’s mandate for one year, with a clear determination for the Security Council to update the parameters of the sanctions regime.

Ambassador Kim Song of DPRK said nuclear weapons are stockpiled in many countries, including the US, yet Pyongyang is the only one facing sanctions.

Inhumane double standards exist in terms of States rights to defend themselves, he said.

He added that Council sanctions are the product of the “heinous policies” of the US that hinder DPRK’s sovereignty, right to development and existence.

“This meeting today is not a simple gathering to hear and understand the exercise of the veto,” the ambassador said.

“Rather, it serves as an important occasion to determined whether we will leave Security Council to be a tool of the United States…or we make the Council to ensure justice and impartiality and perform its function as required by the international community.”

Deputy Permanent Representative Geng Shuang of China said the Korean War has long ended, “but the cold war mentality is still lingering”.

There will be no resolution of the current issues if the security concerns of all parties, including DPRK, remain unaddressed, he said.

He called on relevant actors to work together to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula and adopt a path to peace.

The current tensions are stymying those efforts, he said, emphasized that dialogue and a political settlement of the matter is needed and the Council must play an active role.

“Sanctions should not be carved in stone,” he said.

He added that “harsh sanctions” against DPRK have had a negative effect on the humanitarian situation in the country.

On Russia’s new proposal, he expressed hope that Council members will work productively to extend the panel of experts’ mandate.

He said the veto sends “a dangerous message” and could have a cascading effect on other Council sanctions.

The panel will cease to exist in three weeks, but the sanctions remain in place, he said, encouraging all Member States to abide by these provisions.

In terms of the humanitarian situation, he said the international community has attempted to send aid, Pyongyang had declined.

“The veto will not silence the global non-proliferation regime,” he said, pledging his delegation’s efforts towards the proper functioning of the Security Council and its mechanism for the complete and verifiable denuclearisation of DPRK.

Robert WoodDeputy Permanent Representative of the United States, said that as the draft resolution’s penholder, his delegation had sought widespread engagement and that China and Russia had ample opportunities to discuss sanctions reform in the Council.

Russia gave Council members an ultimatum that sought one of two outcomes: to prevent sanctions against DPRK or to silence the panel’s investigations, including into Moscow’s procurement of weapons from Pyongyang for its ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

Mr. Wood said that Russia’s veto undermines the peace and security architecture and deprives action on one of the Council’s most pressing issues, that of peace on the Korean Peninsula, Mr. Wood said.

“Russia’s already threatening to terminate more UN sanctions mandates that help the Security Council monitor and take action to deter threats to international peace and security,” he said.


“This is why it is critical for all of us to raise our voices today in support of the non-proliferation regime, and in opposition to attempts to silence information we need to uphold our obligations.”

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