China and Russia have blocked a US push to impose United Nations sanctions on five North Koreans in response to recent missile launches by Pyongyang.
China’s block came on Thursday before a new closed-door Security Council meeting on North Korea, also requested by Washington, and was followed by Russia’s decision to similarly oppose the American proposal.
The United States quickly expressed its displeasure at the block.
“We have these sanctions for a reason,” ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said when asked about the Beijing and Moscow opposition.
“And for any member state to oppose putting sanctions… gives, in my view, the DPRK a blank check,” she said, using an acronym for North Korea.
Last week, after Washington levied sanctions on five North Koreans linked to the country’s ballistic missile program, the United States undertook a campaign within the 15-member Security Council to extend UN sanctions to those same five people.
Also targeted were four China-based North Korean representatives of SANS-subordinate organizations, the Treasury Department said: Sim Kwang Sok, Kim Song Hun, Kang Chol Hak, and Pyon Kwang Chol.