NEW YORK – The U.N. Security Council has failed to agree on a statement rebuking North Korea’s recent launch of a missile that landed near Japan due to opposition from China, according to U.N. sources.
China had pressed the council to reject deployment of any anti-missile system in Northeast Asia in the envisaged statement, apparently reasserting its objection to the planned deployment of a U.S. anti-ballistic missile system in South Korea.
The United States, which had circulated the draft statement, did not accede to China’s demand, the sources said.
A Security Council press statement has no binding force, but to release such a statement, approval from all 15 members is mandatory in principle.
South Korea and the United States announced on July 8 they have decided to deploy an advanced U.S. antimissile defense system south of the inter-Korean border to better cope with North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile threats, drawing sharp reactions from China and Russia.
The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system is intended to intercept ballistic missiles flying at high altitudes inside and outside the atmosphere. It is expected to be deployed and operational by the end of 2017.
A South Korean Foreign Ministry official said Wednesday that Seoul is deeply discontented with the Security Council’s failure to condemn the missile launch.
The official accused China of linking the issue of North Korean missiles to the South’s self-defense, adding China should “play a responsible role as a permanent member of the Security Council.”
The Security Council in March imposed its toughest-ever sanctions on North Korea, expanding freight inspection to cover all cargo to and from the country and tightening measures curbing the presence and operations of North Korean banks outside its territory.
In the latest act of provocation on Aug. 3, North Korea fired what appeared to be a medium-range Rodong missile, which has an estimated range of up to 1,300 kilometers, making it capable of reaching as far as Japan.
It flew roughly 1,000 km before falling in Japan’s exclusive economic zone 250 km west of the Oga Peninsula in Akita Prefecture.
It was the first time a North Korean missile’s warhead landed in Japan’s EEZ, which extends 200 nautical miles (370 km) from shore.
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