The Korea Herald


Veto shows harms of NK-Russia alignment: Cho

By Ji Da-gyum

Published : April 3, 2024 - 14:45

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South Korean Ambassador to the United States Cho Hyun-dong speaks during a press conference in Washington, DC on Tuesday. (Yonhap) South Korean Ambassador to the United States Cho Hyun-dong speaks during a press conference in Washington, DC on Tuesday. (Yonhap)

Russia's veto against renewing a panel of experts overseeing sanctions on North Korea illustrates the adverse repercussions of the growing alignment between Pyongyang and Moscow on international order and regional security, South Korean Ambassador to the US Cho Hyun-dong said Tuesday.

Russia exercised its veto power Thursday to block the yearly extension of the panel of experts responsible for monitoring the enforcement of UN Security Council resolutions on North Korea. The panel of experts also releases reports on cases that bypass UN sanctions twice a year.

"I express deep regret that the resolution to extend the mandate of the panel of experts under the Sanctions Committee on North Korea, which has been routinely extended without disagreement over the past 15 years, was voted down due to Russia's exercise of veto power," Cho said during a press briefing in Washington.

Since establishing the 1718 Committee Panel of Experts in 2009, the 15-member UN Security Council has unanimously renewed the mandate of the committee’s panel of experts annually.

Cho pointed out that "this instance exemplifies how the close alignment between Russia and North Korea, including arms trade, not only adversely affects the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and the European region but also the international order, including the UN and the global non-proliferation regime."

Russia proposed adding sunset clauses to all UN Security Council resolutions on North Korea during the drafting process of a resolution on the renewal of the panel's mandate. If included, these clauses would automatically terminate UN sanctions on North Korea after a fixed period unless they are extended.

"This also represents an irresponsible action by Russia, a permanent member, eroding international trust in both the United Nations sanctions regime and the Security Council, which it had advocated for," Cho said.

Cho further said he "strongly urges Russia to cease all cooperation with North Korea that violates Security Council resolutions and to fulfill its obligations as a permanent member of the UN Security Council."

But Cho also emphasized that the extension of the mandate of the panel of experts received support from 13 Security Council members, indicating that the majority of member states are committed to upholding the UN sanctions regime on North Korea and ensuring its comprehensive monitoring.

China, one of the five veto-wielding permanent members of the Security Council, abstained from voting.

"The government will diligently cooperate with the international community through the strict enforcement of sanctions on North Korea, as well as through each country's unilateral sanctions. In this process, we will ensure seamless coordination with the US," Cho said.

South Korea and the US, along with other Security Council members, are reportedly discussing UN-centered responses to Russia's veto. However, less than a month remains before the term of the panel of experts ends on April 30.