Russia urges US to take diplomatic steps if it pursues ‘strict implementation’ of N. Korea sanctions

Russia’s UN envoy has reminded Washington that while Moscow and Beijing are implementing the sanctions part of the UNSC resolution, the US must deliver on its obligation to pursue diplomacy to defuse the crisis.

The UN Security Council has “condemned the highly provocative launch of a ballistic missile” by North Korea, the 15-member body said in a statement following an emergency closed door session that was called in wake of the 19th missile test by North Korea this year.

“The Security Council stressed that all member states must fully, comprehensively and immediately implement all relevant Security Council Resolutions, in particular, Resolution 2375,” rotating president and Permanent Representative of Ethiopia, Tekeda Alemu said reading out a joint statement following the emergency meeting.

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UN Security Council unanimously adopts tougher sanctions on North Korea

On Monday, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2375, following the sixth nuclear test which North Korea carried out on September 3. The international legal document placed a cap on oil product supplies to North Korea, as well as a ban on its textiles exports. 

Yet, and despite the latest round of sanctions, Pyongyang, on Friday, launched yet another missile which flew over Japan and traveled about 3,700 kilometers.

Following the UNSC session, members of the council stressed that North Korea must “immediately show a sincere commitment to denuclearization through concrete action” to reduce tensions on the Peninsula.

At the end of the closed-door meeting, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, insisted that the reciprocal threats and warmongering rhetoric emanating from Washington and Pyongyang must cease in order to defuse tensions on the peninsula.

Pyongyang is “a global threat, requiring a global response from all countries,” the Russian diplomat said. While Moscow was ready to support the sanctions against North Korea, it is also waiting for the US to implement the political measures outlined in the document to help defuse tensions.

During the discussions, the Americans called on Moscow and Beijing “to implement the sanctions part of Resolution 2375 as soon as possible,” the Russian diplomat said.

“We said that we are a responsible member of the international community and that we honestly implement the resolutions we adopt in the Security Council,” Nebenzia explained.

“But this resolution also provides for political measures that must also be carried out. That is why, we called upon our American and other partners to carry out political and diplomatic decisions, which are stipulated in the resolution,” the ambassador pointed out according to TASS.

Russia will consider the failure to implement these political and diplomatic steps “as disobeying the resolution, [and] incomplete implementation of it,” the diplomat underlined.

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Friday’s missile launch by North Korea prompted worldwide condemnation. And while US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stressed that Security Council resolutions, including the most recent one, “represent the floor, not the ceiling of the actions the US should take,” Moscow along with China has been insisting on defusing the tensions through dialogue and diplomacy.

On Friday, in a phone conversation, President Vladimir Putin and the French president, Emmanuel Macron, stressed the need to solve the crisis through political and diplomatic efforts.

“The heads of state have shared an opinion that further escalation, fraught with irrevocable repercussions, on the Korean Peninsula is inadmissible and that this utterly knotty situation needs to be solved by exclusively diplomatic and political means, through the resumption of direct talks,” the Kremlin said.

Putin, Macron: N. Korea threatening peace & safety, direct talks needed

The latest round of sanctions adopted by the UNSC Monday was an “adequate response of the international community to Pyongyang’s reckless actions,” Putin and Macron agreed.

While remaining committed to its international obligations, Russia doubts that sanctions have the ability to produce the desired outcome. Since July, and while condemning North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, Moscow and Beijing have been pushing for the so-called ‘double freeze’ initiative that would see North Korea suspend its missile and nuclear tests in exchange for South Korea and the US abandoning their joint military exercises.

The US has rejected the proposal, asserting that its own exercises are legal, unlike Pyongyang’s, which are subject to existing international sanctions.

On Friday, the US Envoy to the UN, Nikki Haley, pressed home that while, for now, diplomacy remains the preferred recourse, the US and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis have “plenty of options” to handle North Korea.

“I have no problem with kicking it to General Mattis because I think he has plenty of options,” Haley said, speaking at the White House, ahead of Donald Trump’s next week’s UN General Assembly engagement.

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster was emphatic in that denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula remains the ultimate outcome for the administration, even if that meant war.

“There is a military option,” he said. “Now, it’s not what we prefer to do. So what we have to do is call on all nations, call on everyone to do everything we can to address this global problem short of war.”

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