The U.S. ambassador to the UN accused Beijing and Moscow of “enabling” North Korea’s military after it fired two more ballistic missiles on Thursday following a Security Council meeting on the country’s recent launches.
Why it matters: Thursday’s launch was the sixth in 12 days, occurring after the U.S. redeployed an aircraft carrier off the Korean peninsula.
The big picture: The U.S. and several allies called for the emergency UN Security Council meeting due to Pyongyang conducting its longest-range ballistic missile test ever on Tuesday, sending the missile flying over Japan — prompting Japanese officials to issue an evacuation warning.
- The U.S. and South Korean military held live-fire drills in response to Pyongyang’s first missile launch over Japan since 2017.
- After the U.S. repositioned the USS Ronald Reagan off the Korean peninsula, Pyongyang fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea on Thursday, according to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff and Japan’s government.
Driving the news: While the Biden administration called the missile test over Japan “dangerous and reckless” and a “clear violation” of Security Council resolutions, fellow permanent Security Council members China and Russia opposed calling the meeting — which ended with no solution.
- Chinese and Russian officials accused Washington at the meeting of provoking the launches with military exercises.
What they’re saying: Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said after the latest missiles were fired that “the two Council members that are blocking us from taking action are enabling North Korea.”
State of play: Tokyo lodged a “vehement protest” with North Korea over Thursday’s missile tests through official channels in Beijing.
- Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters launching six missiles in such a short period “absolutely cannot be tolerated,” per Reuters.
Meanwhile, the North Korean Foreign Ministry said in a statement it “strongly condemns the U.S.” and its allies for calling the Security Council meeting and claimed the repositioning of the USS Ronald Reagan was “a serious threat to the stability of the situation on the Korean peninsula and in its vicinity.”
- The Ministry claimed firing the latest missiles was “just counteraction” for the U.S.-South Korean military drills.
Between the lines: North Korea’s “consistent and persistent claims” that its missile launches are in response to joint U.S.-South Korea military drills form part of Pyongyang’s “long running strategy of establishing equivalence between their illicit provocations” and the U.S.-South Korea drills, said Go Myong-hyun, a senior fellow at the Asan Institute of Policy Studies in Seoul, per the Washington Post.
- The latest North Korean Foreign Ministry statement “echoes precisely the talking points intended to inculcate the perception that the drills and provocations are equivalent, when in fact they are not,” Go added.
- South Korean Defense Ministry spokesperson Moon Hong Sik said Pyongyang’s spate of recent launches indicate an “urgency to meet” North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un’s weapons development goals, AP reports.
Source : Axios