Russia vetoes UN statement on North Korea's missile tests

AS--China-North Korea-Minister

Russian Federation on Wednesday blocked UN Security Council condemnation of North Korea's latest missile test even though China had backed the strongly-worded statement put forward by the United States, diplomats said.

Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, on Wednesday said that he believes it is important for all countries involved in past talks on denuclearising the Korean Peninsula - South Korea, Japan, China, Russia and the United States - to help prevent the North's potential nuclear capability from becoming a threat to the worldwide community.

The statement was to condemn the latest failed ballistic missile test by North Korea, but failed to get through the top security body on Wednesday.

"The US delegation stopped the work on the document without any explanation and claimed to the media that Russia had "blocked" it," the Russian delegation said.

In the proposed statement, council members expressed "their utmost concern" over North Korea's "highly destabilizing behavior" and again threatened to take "further significant measures". Last week, it used its veto power to block an attempt to condemn the killing of dozens of people in a suspected Syrian chemical attack.

According to the office of the Russian envoy to the United Nations, there was indeed disagreement over the draft statement, because the USA had failed to mention "dialogue" as the path towards settling the conflict over the North Korean missile program.

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United States experts who analyse satellite images from North Korea say they have seen unusual activity at the country's nuclear site: volleyball games.

US Ambassador Nikki Haley separately stressed that the onus was on North Korea to prevent an escalation.

Kim on Monday warned that a nuclear war "may break out at any moment", while Haley on Tuesday emphasised that Washington is not looking for a fight "so don't try and give us one".

"And, it's up to them to kind of see it. We took note that the proposed text contained some language that was not previously agreed in the standard press statements on the condemnation of DPRK's missile launches", the statement said.

"You know that we are in favor of continuing political and diplomatic efforts, including those that have gained a reputation within the framework of the global format", he added. "They shouldn't try and play at this point". Although the planes returned empty-handed this time, many experts, including South Korea's own foreign ministry, have long believed there is a high possibility the regime could conduct its sixth nuclear test in April. It is not a signatory to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the global ban on nuclear explosive testing.