Monday, April 15, 2024

Russia Blocks UN from Monitoring Kim Jong-un’s Regime

HomeWARRussia Blocks UN from Monitoring Kim Jong-un's Regime

In a bombshell move sparking global outrage, Russia has dropped the axe on the United Nations panel that monitored sanctions against nuclear-armed North Korea. Moscow’s veto kyboshed the expert group after 14 years of tracking Pyongyang’s sanctions-busting antics.

The now-defunct Panel of Experts was the UN’s stalwart team investigating violations of tough sanctions first slapped on North Korea in 2006 for defiantly test-firing nukes. Over the years, the panel issued hard-hitting reports exposing the hermit regime’s illicit nuke and missile activities, banned trade, cybercrimes, labor exports and other sanctions-evading tactics.

Firestorm of Condemnation After Russia’s Veto

Russia’s veto to kill the panel at the UN Security Council on Thursday detonated a firestorm of condemnation. Of the council’s 15 members, 13 voted to keep the watchdogs working while only China stood aside.

The U.S., Britain, France and allies furiously accused Moscow of silencing the monitors to cover up its own potential sanctions-breaching – specifically claims Russia illicitly acquired North Korean weapons like missiles for its Ukraine invasion.

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Washington’s UN envoy blasted Russia’s “green light for the DPRK’s unlawful programs,” using initials for North Korea’s official name. She called the veto “a great gift” to Kim Jong Un’s regime.

South Korea’s ambassador flayed Russia’s “blind self-centeredness,” slamming the veto as akin to “destroying a CCTV to avoid being caught red-handed” busting sanctions itself.

Flat Denials from Russia

For his part, Russia’s UN ambassador Vassily Nebenzia flatly denied the “baseless accusations.” He derided the panel as focused on “trivial matters” rather than engaging North Korea and promoting peace.

Nebenzia also griped that years of ever-tighter sanctions had only inflicted “a heavy burden” on long-suffering North Koreans while utterly failing to change Pyongyang’s behavior. Russia and ally China have increasingly pushed for sanctions relief on humanitarian grounds.

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But Western powers insist decades of tough UN restrictions must stay until North Korea finally dismantles its nukes. Despite biting economic pain from sanctions, Kim Jong Un’s isolated regime has plowed ahead with banned nuclear work including tests and provocative missile launches.

Sanctions-Busting Continues Unabated

The now-disbanded panel’s damning March report found North Korea had brazenly resumed exports of workers abroad, a key illicit money-maker. It also laid out the regime’s sophisticated cybercrime operations for illegally raising cash.

More broadly, North Korea has routinely violated sanctions with surging nuclear and missile tests, imports of banned petroleum, and other banned economic activities. Multiple countries including Russia have been accused of hosting illicit North Korean labor despite UN bans.

The punishing UN sanctions aim to starve Kim’s nukes of funding while pushing Pyongyang back to stalled denuclearization talks last held in 2019. But to date, the belligerent leadership has defiantly forged ahead with dizzying development of nuclear arms and missiles.

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Ulterior Motives Seen in Russia’s Decision

Critics see Russia’s zeal to kill the UN’s North Korea monitors as driven by ulterior motives like shielding its own alleged arms dealings with Pyongyang amid the Ukraine war. The panel probed evidence Russia procured North Korean weapons for battlefields.

Speculation also swirls Russia may hope befriending a sanctions-free Pyongyang could open new military supply lines from the nuclear-armed outlaw state.

Whatever its reasoning, Russia’s silencing of the UN’s premier North Korea watchdog is a severe blow to global nuclear containment efforts. The move unbridles Kim’s rogue regime while destabilizing northeast Asia.

With the panel gone, only national experts in UN member states can monitor Pyongyang’s compliance – a far weaker system with no independent investigations. That leaves scant visibility into a menacing nuclear program that grows more ominous by the day.

Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee is a prolific author who provides commentary and analysis on business, finance, politics, sports, and current events on his website Opportuneist. With over a decade of experience in journalism and blogging, Mezhar aims to deliver well-researched insights and thought-provoking perspectives on important local and global issues in society.

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