Before a divided UN Security Council on Friday, the United States in vain called for tougher sanctions against North Korea.
The international indignation caused by North Korea’s launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) came against China and Russia’s refusal to strengthen sanctions against Pyongyang.
US UN Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield condemned North Korea’s “increasingly dangerous provocations” at a Security Council meeting and announced that the US would present a resolution to “strengthen the sanctions regime” adopted during a previous North Korean ICBM launch in 2017 .
But Beijing and Moscow have ruled out any hardening. On the contrary, Chinese Ambassador Zhang Jun even called for a “relaxation of sanctions at the right time,” while Russian diplomat Anna Evstigneeva expressed concern that a strengthening of sanctions “would threaten North Korean citizens with social problems – economically and humanitarianly unacceptable.” .
Supervised by Kim Jong-un
The missile, which was fired on Thursday, flew higher and farther than any previous ICBM tested by the nuclear-armed country. Called Hwasong-17, it is capable of hitting any part of US territory and is landed in Japan’s exclusive economic maritime zone.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un personally ordered and monitored the test and assured, according to the state news agency KCNA, that this missile would make “the whole world aware (…) of the power of our strategic armed forces”.
North Korea is “ready for a long-term confrontation with the American imperialists,” he added, who in photos taken by state media, wearing his usual black leather jacket and dark sunglasses, walks on the tarmac in front of a huge missile. .
The shooting was condemned on Friday by the G7, which condemned a “blatant violation” of North Korea’s obligations to the UN. “These reckless actions threaten regional and international peace and security, pose a dangerous and unpredictable risk to international civil aviation and maritime navigation in the region and require a concerted response from the international community,” the foreign ministers stressed. G7 and the High Representative of the European Union.
North Korea “has certain other things in store” after firing the missile, said U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan. Hwasong-17, first unveiled in October 2020, is called a “monster missile” by analysts. It had never been successfully tested before, and the launch brought new US sanctions.
This is “a breach of the moratorium on the launch of intercontinental ballistic missiles committed by President Kim Jong Un” in 2017, lamented South Korean President Moon Jae-in. The South Korean military said it was responding by firing “missiles from the ground, sea and air” off its coast.
Failed last week
UN resolutions prohibit North Korea, which has been hit by heavy international sanctions for its nuclear and weapons programs, from testing ballistic missiles. This did not prevent Pyongyang from conducting a dozen tests of this type of weapon since the beginning of the year.
But it was not until now intercontinental missiles, although Washington and Seoul suspect the North Korean regime of having tested certain ICBM systems during these launches. Pyongyang completed three ICBM launches in 2017. The device that was subsequently tested, the Hwasong-15, was able to reach the United States. According to Seoul, a missile test from North Korea ended in failure on March 16, with the projectile exploding in the sky over Pyongyang shortly after launch.