Update on July 7, 2017–The headline of this news compilation on New Cold War.org has been adjusted to account for Russia’s complaint against mainstream news reports on July 6 saying it has sought to “block” a U.S.-sponsored Security Council resolution seeking further sanctions against North Korea. See: Russia denies ‘blocking’ UNSC statement on N. Korea missile test, condemns leak & misinterpretation, RT.com, July 7, 2017.
Report on Press TV, July 6, 2017 And further below:
- Korea news report: China and Russia affirm close relations over North Korea and THAAD issues
- Text of July 4 joint statement by the Russian and Chinese foreign ministries on the Korean Peninsula’s problems
Russian diplomats have objected to a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) condemnation of North Korea’s recent missile launch, saying the U.S.-drafted statement referred to it as an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
Russia’s UN mission said in an email to its Security Council colleagues on Thursday [July 6] that Moscow believed Pyongyang fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile on Tuesday. “The rationale is that based on our (Ministry of Defense’s) assessment we cannot confirm that the missile can be classified as an ICBM,” the mission said, adding, “Therefore we are not in a position to agree to this classification on behalf of the whole council since there is no consensus on this issue.”
According to the draft statement, the council would start work on “further significant measures” against North Korea.
Security Council statements have to be agreed by all 15-members. It was not immediately clear if the U.S. would continue to negotiate with Russia in an effort to reach a council consensus on a statement of condemnation. The council met on Wednesday [July 5] to discuss the missile launch by North Korea.
US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley slammed Russia’s reluctance to recognize that North Korea had test-launched an ICBM. “If you need any sort of intelligence to let you know that the rest of the world sees this as an ICBM, I’m happy to provide it,” she told the council.
Haley said the U.S. would propose new UN sanctions in coming days. She also warned that if Russia and China did not support the move, then “we will go our own path.” Haley said Washington was ready to use force “if we must.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi have already urged dialogue and restraint to cool down the current confrontations on the Korean Peninsula. The two diplomats said in a recent joint statement that the international community should take collective measures to settle the current crisis peacefully instead of pushing it to an armed conflict.
Russia and China have also called on North Korea, South Korea and the United States to sign up to a Chinese de-escalation plan designed to defuse tensions around Pyongyang’s missile program. The plan would see North Korea suspend its ballistic missile program and the United States and South Korea simultaneously call a moratorium on large-scale military exercises.
On June 3, the United Nations Security Council imposed a fresh array of sanctions on North Korea in response to a number of missile tests carried out by Pyongyang this year.
Unsettled by North Korean missile and nuclear programs, the United States has adopted a war-like posture, sending a strike group and conducting joint military drills with North Korea’s regional adversaries Japan and South Korea.
North Korea accuses the United States of plotting with regional allies to overthrow its government. Pyongyang says it will not relinquish its nuclear deterrence unless the United States ends its hostile policy toward North Korea and dissolves the US-led UN command in South Korea.
Russia blocks UN condemnation of N. Korea missile over ICBM label, Reuters, July 6, 2017
U.S. threatens military action at emergency UN meeting on North Korea, ABC News, July 5, 2017
South Korea President Moon Jae-in sticking to pressure and dialogue approach after N. Korea’s latest missile launch, The Hankyoreh, July 6, 2017
China and Russia affirm close relations over North Korea and THAAD issues
China and Russia have shown their solid bonds ahead of the G-20 Summit to take place in Hamburg on July 7-8, the former as it faces attempted controls by the U.S. and the latter as it faces Western sanctions.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed concern about North Korea‘s intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch, but continued to voice firm opposition to deployment of a THAAD missile defense system on the Korean Peninsula. Indeed, opposition to THAAD now appears to be a key link in Beijing and Moscow’s close relationship.
Xi and Putin met at the Kremlin in Moscow on July 4 to sign joint statements on intensifying their full-scale strategic partnership and on “the current world situation and major international issues”. They ratified terms for implementation of their Treaty for Good Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation over the next three years. The treaty, which was signed in 2001, took the place of an alliance treaty that expired in 1980.
The two leaders also looked on while Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov signed a joint statement on Korean Peninsula issues. [Full text of that statement is below.]
The statement on Korean peninsula issues offers a clear picture of the two countries’ planned coordination on the North Korean nuclear issue. In it, they called North Korea’s ICBM test launch on July 4 a violation of UN Security Council resolutions, which it urged Pyongyang to abide by. At the same time, they reiterated China‘s proposed “two halts” solution, in which South Korea and the U.S. would halt their large-scale military exercises in exchange for North Korea halting its nuclear and missile development.
They also stressed the need for a peace regime in Northeast Asia and a “package settlement” on the nuclear and other Korean Peninsula issues. The two sides further expressed their support for dialogue and improvements in inter-Korean relations, stressing that North Korea’s “reasonable concerns” about the security of its regime should be respected.
The position from Beijing and Moscow was seen as a reiteration of their existing stance on resolution of the nuclear issue despite their concerns about North Korea’s ICBM development. It’s a situation that could turn into a standoff if the U.S. and Japan insist on increasing pressure against Pyongyang.
The Korean Peninsula statement also reaffirmed China and Russia’s position calling for an “immediate halt to the deployment of THAAD, which is infringing upon regional strategic security interests.” The statement further noted that “some countries” were “using responding to a threat as a pretext to unilateral deploy missile defense systems in Europe and Asia, causing serious harm to the strategic security interests of countries in the region, including China and Russia.” It’s a message that clearly spells out their opposition to THAAD, which is characterized as part of the US‘s global missile defense system.
The state-owned China Development Bank also decided on July 4 to invest a total of US$11 billion (around 13 trillion won) in the Russian Direct Investment Fund, a Russian sovereign wealth fund, and in the Russian-owned development bank Vnesheconombank (VEB). The Financial Times described the successful courting of Chinese investment as the fruit of long efforts by Russia, which has faced Western sanctions amid the situation in Ukraine.
In a July 3 interview with Russian media, Xi declared that the “full-scale partnership relationship between China and Russia is enjoying the best time in its history,” citing high levels of mutual political and strategic trust, senior-level exchanges and cooperation in various areas, positive linkages to each side’s development strategies, and close strategic cooperation on international and regional issues.
Xi wrapped up his two-day schedule in Russia on July 4 after being awarded Russia‘s highest honor – the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle – by Putin. He arrived in Berlin later that evening.
Also on The Hankyoreh :
North Korea’s ICBM launch presents Trump administration with a dilemmanews analysis, by Yi Yong-in, Washington correspondent, The Hankyoreh, July 6, 2017
Joint statement by the Russian and Chinese foreign ministries on the Korean Peninsula’s problems
Statement signed in Moscow on July 4, 2017 by Sergei Lavrov, for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, and Wang Yi, for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China.
The Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China are the Korean Peninsula’s neighbours, therefore the development of the situation in the region concerns the national interests of both countries. Russia and China will closely coordinate their efforts in order to promote a complex solution to the Korean Peninsula’s problems, including that of the nuclear issue, for the sake of achieving a lasting peace and stability in Northeast Asia. In the spirit of strategic cooperation the foreign ministries of Russia and China (hereinafter referred to as Parties) state the following:
1. The Parties are seriously worried by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)’s statement of July 4, 2017 about a ballistic missile launch and consider this statement unacceptable and in disharmony with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.
2. The Parties express serious concern about the development of the situation on the Korean Peninsula and around it. Mounting political and military tension in that region, fraught with the eruption of an armed conflict, are calling on the international community to adopt collective measures to settle the situation peacefully through dialogue and consultations. The Parties oppose any statements or moves that might escalate tension or aggravate the contradictions and urge all countries concerned to maintain calm, renounce provocative moves or bellicose rhetoric, demonstrate readiness for dialogue without preconditions and work actively together to defuse tension.
3.The Parties are putting forward a joint initiative, which is based on the Chinese-proposed ideas of “double freezing” (missile and nuclear activities by the DPRK and large-scale joint exercises by the United States and the Republic of Korea) and “parallel advancement” towards the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula and the creation of peace mechanisms on the peninsula, and the Russian-proposed stage-by-stage Korean settlement plan.
The Parties propose the following:
The DPRK, by way of a voluntary political decision, announces a moratorium on the testing of nuclear explosive devices and ballistic missile tests, and the United States and the Republic of Korea should, accordingly, refrain from large-scale joint exercises. Simultaneously, the conflicting parties begin talks and assert common principles of their relations, including the non-use of force, the renunciation of aggression, peaceful coexistence and determination to do all they can to denuclearise the Korean Peninsula with a view to promoting a complex resolution of all problems, including the nuclear issue. During the negotiating process, all parties concerned push forward, in a format suitable to them, the creation on the peninsula and in Northeast Asia of a peace and security mechanism and consequently normalise relations between the countries in question.
The Parties urge the international community to support the aforementioned initiative that paves the real way for resolving the Korean Peninsula’s problems.
4.The Parties are resolutely committed to the international non-proliferation regime and are firmly aimed at the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula and a comprehensive and full implementation of the relevant UN Security Council resolutions. The Parties intend, jointly with other parties concerned, to continue making efforts to facilitate the balanced removal of the existing concerns via dialogue and consultations.
The Parties confirm that the DPRK’s justified concerns should be respected. Other states must make relevant efforts to have talks resumed and jointly to create an atmosphere of peacefulness and mutual trust.
The Parties are calling on all parties involved to comply with the commitments formulated in the Joint Statement of September 19, 2005, and to re-launch, as soon as possible, the dialogue on the comprehensive resolution of problems on the Korean Peninsula. Any possibility of using military means to solve the problems of the Korean Peninsula should be ruled out.
5. The Parties express support for the North and the South of the Korean Peninsula to conduct dialogue and consultations, display benevolence towards each other, improve relations, cooperate in the matter of a peaceful settlement, and play a due role in defusing the situation on the Korean Peninsula and in resolving its problems in a proper manner.
6. The Parties confirm that they are paying sufficient attention to the maintenance of the international and regional balance and stability, and emphasise that allied relations between separate states should not inflict damage on the interests of third parties. They are against any military presence of extra-regional forces in Northeast Asia and its build-up under the pretext of counteracting the DPRK’s missile and nuclear programmes.
The Parties confirm that the deployment of THAAD antimissile systems in Northeast Asia is inflicting serious damage on strategic security interests of regional states, including Russia and China, and does nothing to help achieve the aims of the Korean Peninsula’s denuclearisation, nor to ensure peace and stability in the region.
Russia and China are against the deployment of the said systems, call on the relevant countries to immediately stop and cancel the deployment process, and have agreed to adopt the necessary measures to protect the two countries’ security interests and to ensure a strategic balance in the region.
This statement was signed on July 4, 2017, in Moscow.