China, Russia veto US bid at UN to punish North Korea
China and Russia on Thursday vetoed a US-led bid at the United Nations to toughen sanctions on North Korea over its missile launches, laying bare divisions that Western envoys fear would be exploited by Pyongyang.
The Security Council resolution put forward by the United States would have reduced the amount of oil North Korea could legally import as punishment for a test Wednesday of an intercontinental ballistic missile.
The resolution enjoyed the support of the 13 other members of the Security Council, although some US allies quietly wondered whether Washington should have gone ahead with the vote knowing the outcome.
China, the closest ally of North Korea, and Russia, whose relations with the West have sunk over its invasion of Ukraine, said they would have preferred a non-binding statement rather than a fresh resolution with teeth against Pyongyang.
China's ambassador to the UN, Zhang Jun alleged that the US wanted the resolution to fail so as to "spread the flames of war" as part of its wider effort to pressure China.
"The crux of the matter," he said, "is whether they want to use the handling of the Korean peninsula issue on the chessboard of their so-called Indo-Pacific strategy."