Signs of discord have emerged in international collaboration on North Korea’s nuclear and missile provocations in the face of China’s opposition to installing a U.S.’ antimissile system in South Korea.
The allies faced Beijing’s resistance as they pushed to issue a condemnation by the U.N. Security Council over Pyongyang’s latest firing of two ballistic missiles on Wednesday, one of which fell into the Japanese waters for the first time.
The 15-member council met behind closed doors for an emergency meeting upon the request of Seoul, Washington and Tokyo for a “strong, swift response.”
As the three sought to circulate a draft council statement condemning the launch, Chinese Ambassador Liu Jieyi posed a stumbling block, saying “nothing should be done to exacerbate tension” on the peninsula, though he acknowledged the North Korean risks.
The council has usually released quick criticism following Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile provocations, but failed to give any response after it tested a submarine-launched ballistic missile and three midrange ballistic missiles last month.
The resistance came amid Beijing’s robust protests against the decision early July to station a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense battery in South Korea, which it sees as targeting China and thus tipping the regional strategic balance.
Yet U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power called for “strong condemnations across the board from individual member states,” while South Korean Ambassador Oh Joon stressed that the communist state has carried out 13 rounds of ballistic missile experiments this year.
Japanese Ambassador Koro Bessho also called the latest action “totally unacceptable” and a “grave violation” of UNSC resolutions.
“So we have every reason to believe that the council will be able to come together in a swift and united way to condemn this, again, just the latest launches,” Power told reporters.
“Obviously by now, what they’re doing is not just separate, random missile tests. I think they are doing all of this with the systematic, comprehensive purpose of upgrading and refining their missile technologies, which is not only a grave challenge to the global nonproliferation system but also poses a clear, present danger to the security of all countries in the region,” Oh said.
The U.N. spoke out against Pyongyang, with spokesman Stephane Dujarric saying the agency is “deeply troubled” and urging it to “reverse its course and return to the process of sincere dialogue.”
By Shin Hyon-hee(email@example.com)