The United States and Russian Federation have locked horns over the enforcement of UN sanctions against North Korea.
The acrimonious meeting of the Security Council was called by U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley, who accused Russia of pressuring independent United Nations experts to alter a report on implementation of sanctions against North Korea that she said contained "evidence of multiple Russian sanctions violations".
United Nations political affairs chief Rosemary DiCarlo told the council that while there had been some recent positive developments, "there continue to be signs the DPRK (North Korea) is maintaining and developing its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs".
An August U.N. report revealed Pyongyang has not stopped its nuclear and missile programs and is still violating sanctions by transferring coal at sea.
And despite the US pushing global partners to maintain pressure on North Korea to denuclearize, full support from critical allies, Russian Federation and China, has waned.
The Security Council has remained united in imposing tougher and tougher sanctions on North Korea, but the differences over the experts' report mark a first dent in that unity.
"The United States is as committed as ever to continuing to enforce those U.N. Security Council resolutions", Pompeo told reporters.
Reacting to the accusations by Haley, Russia's United Nations ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, said Moscow insisted on having the report amended as it had become "hostage to the vision of Washington" and did not take into account Russia's views.
Haley identified a Russian ship allegedly involved. The South Korean Foreign Ministry said in a statement Tuesday that Pompeo said he shared information with the State Department from the information Kang briefed him on earlier in the day.
The actions come as the US continues to push North Korea to denuclearize and remains locked in a trade war with China.
At UN, US accuses Russia of 'cheating' on North Korea sanctions
Some in Seoul and Washington have been concerned that a nuclear deal between North Korea and the United States could lead to a drastic reduction or withdrawal of USA troops on the Korean Peninsula.
Haley said that while "difficult, sensitive talks" between Washington and Pyongyang are ongoing, it was the wrong time to start easing sanctions. She said that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is still unable to gain access to the country and inspect nuclear-related facilities. "But we are not there yet". "Sanctions can not replace diplomacy".
"Resolving the nuclear issue of the peninsula through just some sanctions and pressure on Pyongyang is impossible".
The 15 Council members sat to consider the latest midterm report of the Panel of Experts of the 1718 DPRK Sanctions Committee, which was established to oversee the relevant sanctions relating to North Korea.
South Korean Ambassador to the UN Cho Tae-yul acknowledged during the meeting that the "road ahead will be bumpy" and called for the worldwide community to pursue the shared goal of complete denuclearization of the North with "patience, persistence and, above all, a united stance and solidarity".
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He called for "confidence-building measures", citing as a possibility the signing of a peace treaty to end the 1950-53 Korean War. He also said that the sanctions would stay in place for the time being but promised Pyongyang "big benefits and exciting future" in the end. "Resorting to force will bring nothing but disastrous consequences to the peninsula".
"The problem is, it isn't time yet to relieve pressure on North Korea no matter how lucrative it is for Russian Federation", she said.
"This council should stay united, honor its responsibility entrusted by history and push for the denuclearization and lasting peace in northeast Asia", Ma said.
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