US Seeks Alternative Sanctions Monitoring as Russia Vetoes UN Panel on North Korea

US seeks alternatives to monitor N. Korea sanctions after Russia veto of UN panel; warns Russia, China against empowering Pyongyang's weapons programs, eyes diplomacy.

Nasiru Eneji Abdulrasheed
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US Seeks Alternative Sanctions Monitoring as Russia Vetoes UN Panel on North Korea

US Seeks Alternative Sanctions Monitoring as Russia Vetoes UN Panel on North Korea

The United States is working with allies to find alternative ways to monitor sanctions enforcement against North Korea after Russia vetoed the annual renewal of a UN panel of experts that has overseen the implementation of sanctions on the country for 15 years. US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield criticized Russia and China for shielding North Korea from accountability over its weapons programs during her visit to South Korea and the demilitarized zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea.

Thomas-Greenfield urged Russia and China to reverse course and stop empowering North Korea's efforts to sidestep international sanctions. She said the US will collaborate with South Korea, Japan, and other allies to find "creative ways" to continue the work of monitoring sanctions enforcement previously carried out by the UN panel. The end of the panel's mandate on April 30 creates a vacuum in enforcement that could provide an opportunity for North Korea to advance its weapons programs, according to South Korea's defense ministry.

Why this matters: The absence of the UN monitoring panel could embolden North Korea to accelerate its nuclear and missile programs, raising tensions on the Korean Peninsula and beyond. The US and its allies are seeking to maintain pressure on North Korea through sanctions while also keeping the door open for diplomacy.

During her visit to South Korea, Thomas-Greenfield also met with young North Korean defectors and expressed her priority to raise the profile of human rights violations in North Korea. She plans to travel to Japan to meet with family members of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea and visit Nagasaki, which was hit by a US nuclear bomb in 1945.

Russia has criticized the UN panel's work as neither objective nor impartial and has strengthened ties with North Korea. Pyongyang has been accused of supplying arms to Moscow for its war in Ukraine, but both have denied the accusations. Thomas-Greenfield reiterated that the US has "no hostile intent" towards North Korea and remains open to dialogue without preconditions, but condemned North Korea's ties with Russia.

Key Takeaways

  • US working with allies to monitor N. Korea sanctions after Russia vetoed UN panel renewal.
  • US envoy criticizes Russia, China for shielding N. Korea from accountability over weapons.
  • US to collaborate with allies to continue UN panel's work of monitoring sanctions enforcement.
  • The absence of UN panel could embolden N. Korea to accelerate nuclear, missile programs.
  • US envoy raises human rights violations in N. Korea, condemns its ties with Russia.