US calls for China to support holding N.Korea accountable for missile launches

A senior US diplomat called for China to lend its support and join the US-led move to hold North Korea responsible for its ballistic missile launches amid growing concern over the UN Security Council’s continuous failure to take concerted actions.

US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield held a rare face-to-face meeting with China’s Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Affairs Liu Xiaoming on Wednesday in New York.

“Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield emphasized the importance of a unified UN Security Council response to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) provocative ballistic missile launches,” according to a statement issued by the US mission to the UN.

“(She) expressed the need to communicate to the DPRK the consequences of violating multiple UN Security Council resolutions.”

The US ambassador and the top Chinese nuclear envoy “further discussed opportunities to encourage the DPRK to denuclearize and engage in meaningful negotiations,” the US mission to the UN said.

The meeting comes days after the US clashed with China and Russia at the UNSC’s public meeting last Friday over how to respond to North Korea’s latest launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

At the meeting, Washington proposed introducing a new UNSC resolution to update and strengthen the current sanctions on the regime. But Beijing and Moscow unitedly and openly urged the UNSC’s 15 members to ease UN economic sanctions, accusing the Biden administration of seeking to heighten tension on the Korean Peninsula.

The explicit discord among the UNSC’s three permanent members, which have the right to exercise veto power over a draft resolution, suggested a slim chance of a UNSC joint action against North Korea’s ICBM launch and a possible nuclear test, unlike in the past.

In 2016 and 2017, the UNSC unanimously adopted five resolutions in response to North Korea’s nuclear and ICBM tests. But the Security Council has not yet issued a press statement, the lowest level of counteraction, while North Korea launched 13 ballistic missiles contravening multiple UNSC resolutions just this year.

Such inaction has raised doubts about the Security Council’s ability to respond to North Korea’s continued contravention of UN resolutions.

During the meeting, Thomas-Greenfield “noted that the United States and China have previously worked effectively to address shared concerns on the Korean Peninsula and expressed the United States’ interest in continuing this cooperation,” the US mission to the UN said Wednesday.

Special Representative Liu tweeted that he and Thomas-Greenfield “exchanged views on the situation on the Korean Peninsula,” without sharing further details.

Top Chinese nuclear envoy’s US trip
China’s top nuclear envoy also conspicuously held a series of meetings with senior diplomats from the UNSC’s four permanent members, except for his country, amid a tug-of-war with the Security Council. His visit to New York came days after the UNSC members publicly diverged in counteraction to North Korea’s ICBM launch.

Liu met the US, UK, French and Russian ambassadors to the UN during his visit to New York and exchanged views on the affairs of the Korean Peninsula, he said on social media on Wednesday, without providing the exact date of the meetings.

He also met South Korean Ambassador to the UN Cho Hyun and “discussed the situation on the Korean Peninsula“ during his visit to New York.

On Tuesday, Liu had a meeting with UN Undersecretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo in New York, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced in a statement.

The Foreign Ministry said, “Liu briefed DiCarlo on China’s principled position on the Korean Peninsula issue.”

“He said that China values the UN’s role in addressing the Korean Peninsula issue and is prepared to strengthen communication and cooperation between the two sides,” the ministry said.

“Dicarlo recognized China’s important role in dealing with the Peninsula issue and said she looked forward to enhancing cooperation between the UN and China.”

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