UN asks China, Russia to explain vetoes on North Korea sanctions

Delegates to the United Nations Security Council tried to penalize North Korea last month with stronger sanctions over its missile tests. China and Russia vetoed the attempt. On Wednesday, they had to explain themselves.

Members of the General Assembly passed a resolution earlier this year requiring delegates to defend their use of a veto. This is the first time any of the five permanent members of the Security Council have had to do so.

China's Ambassador to the UN, Zhang Jun, said tensions should not be escalated. He added that dialogue and consultation are the only viable way to resolve the issue.

Zhang said sanctions on North Korea should instead be eased, a plea echoed by the Russian ambassador. He blamed US leaders for strengthening military alliances in the Indo-Pacific region.

However, Jeffrey DeLaurentis, the US Senior Advisor for Special Political Affairs, rejected that view. He said the explanations for exercising the veto were insufficient, not credible, and not convincing. He added that they were not deployed to serve collective safety and security.

DeLaurentis said the proposed sanctions were a response to escalations, not the cause.

Japan's representative, Odawara Kiyoshi, said the North Koreans have not faced a "strong reaction" from the Security Council. He said they are taking advantage of the situation to accelerate their nuclear and missile programs.