US requests UN Security Council meeting on North Korea

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The public meeting is scheduled for Wednesday at 3pm local time in New York (19:00 GMT)….reports Asian Lite News

The United States has requested a UN Security Council (UNSC) meeting later this week to discuss North Korea, diplomats said, as Washington is pushing the 15-member body to strengthen sanctions against Pyongyang.

Washington holds the UNSC presidency for the month of May and has been considering calling a meeting since late last week, the diplomats said on Monday.

The public meeting is scheduled for Wednesday at 3pm local time in New York (19:00 GMT).

North Korea has ramped up its missile launches in recent months, holding 15 weapons tests so far this year in a show of force that has raised concerns from the country’s neighbours and the administration of President Joe Biden.

The latest test was on Saturday, when Pyongyang fired a ballistic missile from a submarine.

The launch came just days before South Korean President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol, who has promised to take a hard line against North Korea, is set to be sworn in on Tuesday.

The US’s ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said the country would like the Security Council to vote during May to further sanction North Korea. But China and Russia, which both hold veto power on the council, have signalled that they are opposed to further action.

“It is a challenge, it is a threat to international peace and security that the UN Security Council and its members have recognised in the past,” Department of State spokesman Ned Price told reporters last week, about North Korea’s test launches.

“So we’re not going to get ahead of any steps that the UN might take or the UN Security Council might take, but we do think that accountability is important,” Price said.

“We do think it’s vital that the international community, our allies as well as partners around the world, send a very clear signal to [Pyongyang] that these types of provocations won’t be tolerated, they won’t improve its strategic positioning, and the world will respond accordingly.”

Another State Department official also said on May 6 that the US believes North Korea is “preparing its Punggye-ri test site and could be ready to conduct a test there as early as this month”.

North Korea has been subjected to UN sanctions since 2006, which the UNSC has steadily stepped up over the years in a bid to cut off funding for Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes.

Biden’s administration has been pushing the United Nations to take a tougher stance against North Korea over its recent missile launches, including its first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test since 2017, carried out in March.

Washington also has urged North Korea to return to denuclearisation talks, which have been stalled since a 2019 summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and then-US President Donald Trump collapsed over Pyongyang’s demands for sanctions relief.

But North Korea so far has rebuffed overtures from the US, accusing Washington of maintaining hostile policies such as sanctions and military drills. Last month, Kim vowed to step up the development of banned nuclear weapons.

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