Russia blocks renewal of UN panel monitoring North Korea sanctions | United Nations News

The bans, which have been in place since 2006, will remain in place, but the expert panel's mandate will expire on April 30.

Russia has vetoed the United Nations' renewal of a UN panel of experts monitoring North Korea's compliance with international sanctions.

The Russian move follows accusations by the US, South Korea and other countries that Pyongyang is supplying Moscow with weapons to use in its war in Ukraine.

The panel, which monitors North Korea's compliance with U.N. sanctions imposed nearly 20 years ago against its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, said in its latest update this month that it would investigate the arms transfer reports.

“It's almost comparable to destroying CCTV,” South Korea's UN ambassador Junkuk Hwang said of Russia's veto.

Writing on social media after the veto, Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba described the move as “criminal”.

China abstained from Thursday's vote, while the remaining 13 UN Security Council members voted in favor.

“Russia's actions today have cynically undermined international peace and security, all in furtherance of Moscow's corrupt deal with the DPRK,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said, referring to the North by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The committee reports to the Security Council twice a year and recommends measures to improve the implementation of the sanctions, which were first imposed in 2006 and have been gradually strengthened. Its mandate expires at the end of April.

Leif-Erik Eisley, a professor of international studies at Ewha Women's University in Seoul, said the veto “further demonstrates the UN Security Council's ineffectiveness in dealing with North Korea and starkly demonstrates the reluctance of some permanent members to fulfill their obligations.”

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During negotiations on the draft text, Russia and China failed to include a requirement that the sanctions regime be renewed annually. In recent years, both countries have pushed for an easing of sanctions.

Before the vote, Russia told the UN that the West was trying to “strangle” North Korea, that economic sanctions had lost their “relevance” and were “detracting from reality” in preventing the country's nuclear proliferation. Ambassador Basil Nebenzia told the council. .

He accused the panel of experts “increasingly playing into the hands of Western attitudes, reprinting biased information and analyzing newspaper headlines and poor quality photographs”. Thus, he said, “sanctions essentially acknowledge the regime's inability to come up with sober assessments.”

The group's most recent report was made public earlier this month and said North Korea “continues to violate” sanctions, including launching ballistic missiles and violating oil import limits. The panel said it was investigating dozens of cyberattacks that allegedly involved arms shipments to Russia and suspected $3 billion in North Korean weapons programs.

US Deputy UN Ambassador Robert Wood said the panel's work was essential and accused Russia of trying to silence its “independent and objective investigations”.

He warned that Russia's veto would embolden North Korea to continue endangering global security with “long-range missiles and sanctions evasion efforts.”

Despite sanctions, Moscow has rejected claims it is buying weapons from Pyongyang, which continues to develop new weapons and has conducted several tests in recent months, including last week testing a solid-fuel engine for “a new type of intermediate-range. Hypersonic Missile”.

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Ahead of the vote, the US and South Korea launched a task force aimed at curbing North Korea's illegal oil purchases. UN Under the sanctions, Pyongyang is limited to importing 4 million barrels of crude and 500,000 barrels of refined products annually.

“The panel, through its work to expose sanctions non-compliance, has made it difficult for Russia,” said Barbara Woodward, Britain's UN ambassador. “But I must be clear to Russia: the sanctions regime remains in place and the UK remains committed to holding the DPRK to account for its compliance.”

In August, Russia used its veto to end a UN panel of experts' mandate on Mali, which they accused of widespread abuses by Moscow-linked Wagner mercenaries.

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