The UN Security Council failed to reach common ground on new sanctions against Pyongyang on Thursday. Washington proposed the sanctions in the wake of North Korea’s latest missile test this week, on the heels of US President Joe Biden’s Asia tour.
The vote came just a day after North Korea was accused of test-launching its largest intercontinental ballistic missile and two others. Ahead of the vote, US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield called for unity in the face of “a threat to the entire international community.”
However, China and Russia vetoed new sanctions on humanitarian grounds, pointing to their futility and even “inhumanity,” as North Korea struggled to contain a massive Covid-19 outbreak.
The UNSC imposed sanctions on North Korea back in 2006, following its first nuclear test, and has tightened them over the years. Since the latest round of restrictions in 2017, Moscow and Beijing have increasingly been arguing that further pressure is a road to nowhere and unlikely to force Pyongyang to disarm unilaterally.