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Russia and China block new UN sanctions on North Koreans

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Russia and China have blocked the UN Security Council from imposing sanctions on five North Korean officials in response to Pyongyang’s recent ballistic missile tests, a decision criticized by the United States which sought to impose penalties over their roles in the country’s missile program.

At an emergency council meeting on Thursday on the North’s four ballistic missile launches in the last two weeks, the US called on the 15 council members to approve a brief press statement recalling that such launches violate council resolutions and strongly urging Pyongyang to comply with its council obligations “and to engage in dialogue towards denuclearization”.

Diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity because the council meeting was closed, said China, a neighbou and ally of North Korea, opposed any statement.

Before the meeting started, US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield read a statement to reporters from eight countries calling North Korea’s “unlawful behaviour a threat to international peace and security.”

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