US, Russia clash at UN over North Korea sanctions

US, Russia clash at UN over North Korea sanctions
US, Russia clash at UN over North Korea sanctions
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The United States on Monday accused Russia of “cheating” on UN sanctions against North Korea with plans for a railway project, oil transfers and ongoing business dealings with Pyongyang.

Russia shot back and charged that Washington was blocking steps to foster cooperation between North and South Korea and using a UN sanctions committee “as a select channel to punish” North Korea.

US Ambassador Nikki Haley told a Security Council meeting that the United States has evidence of “consistent and wide-ranging Russian violations” of the tough economic penalties imposed on North Korea.

Sanctions “cannot be an end in itself,” Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia responded. “You should, instead of creating roadblocks, promote the inter-Korean cooperation and dialogue,” he told Haley.

The raucous meeting highlighted divisions between the United States, which is pushing for sanctions to be fully enforced on North Korea, and Russia, which argues that incentives must be offered to Pyongyang to move forward.

Led by the United States, the council last year adopted three sets of wide-ranging sanctions aimed at cutting off revenue to North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear programs.

Haley said Russia had been “cheating” despite supporting UN sanctions resolutions.

“Step by step, sanction by sanction, and time and time again, Russia is working across the board to undermine the sanctions regime,” she said.

The United States maintains that UN sanctions which have dealt a blow to North Korea’s economy must remain in place until Pyongyang has completely scrapped its nuclear weapons and military programs.

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