North Korea Missile Launch Sparks U.S. and Russia Argument at United Nations

The U.N. Security Council adopted a statement Thursday condemning a recent failed missile launch by North Korea, but only after delegates from the U.S. and Russia argued over its language.

Moscow reportedly threatened to veto the motion, despite its support from all 14 other members of the U.N. Security Council, including Pyongyang ally China, over the way it was worded. The statement said the U.N. was opposed to North Korea’s decision to launch a liquid-fueled ballistic missile Sunday on the 105th birthday of Kim Il Sung, North Korea’s late founder and current leader Kim Jong Un’s grandfather. Amid a recent fallout between Washington and Moscow in foreign policy in Syria, Russia argued Thursday that the U.S.-drafted statement on North Korea needed to open the possibility for diplomatic talks.

Related: Attack on North Korea Could Start a War in Asia for the U.S., Japan, South Korea and Other Nations

Specifically, Moscow insisted that the U.N. use the same phrasing as previous statements, in which states “welcomed efforts by council members, as well as other states, to facilitate a peaceful and comprehensive solution through dialogue.” The U.S. argued against the inclusion of the phrase “through dialogue,” but eventually relented. The U.N. Security Council said it would consider further sanctions against Pyongyang.

Military vehicles carry missiles with characters reading ‘Pukkuksong’ during a military parade marking the 105th birth anniversary of North Korea’s founding father, Kim Il Sung, in Pyongyang, April 15, 2017. That same day, North Korea conducted a failed ballistic missile launch that was later condemned by the U.N. Security Council, April 20, 2017. Sue-Lin Wong/Reuters

“When we requested to restore the agreed language that was of political importance and expressed commitment to continue to work on the draft … the U.S. delegation without providing any explanations canceled the work on the draft,” the Russia’s U.N. mission said in a statement Wednesday, according to Reuters.

Tensions have run particularly high on the Korean Peninsula since President Donald Trump announced he would send a naval strike group toward the region in response to alleged intelligence reports suggested North Korea would conduct its sixth nuclear test Sunday. Trump’s threat of military action to enforce the U.S.’ interpretation of international law came one day after the White House launched an unexpected missile barrage on an airbase belonging to the Russia-backed Syrian military after the U.S. blamed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for an alleged chemical attack on civilians in the rebel-held Syrian province of Idlib. Russia has challenged the U.S.’ version of events pending an international investigation and officials have warned the U.S. against conducting such unilateral actions in North Korea.

“Our U.S. colleagues have a very bad trait–they first do something and then begin looking into the issue,” Russian…

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