China opposed to THAAD deployment despite North Korea launch

The Security Council is considering serious sanctions against North Korea, but Russia and China have expressed objections.
By Elizabeth Shim  |  Feb. 8, 2016 at 9:43 AM
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NEW YORK, Feb. 8 (UPI) -- The United Nations Security Council is considering serious sanctions against North Korea, but permanent Council members China and Russia are treading carefully on embargoes that could hurt North Korea's fragile economy.

At an emergency meeting Sunday in the wake of the North's launch of the Kwangmyongsong-4, an earth observation satellite, Rafael Ramirez, Venezuela's ambassador to the U.N., said the council would quickly adopt serious sanctions in response to North Korea's dangerous provocation, South Korean television network JTBC reported.

U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said new sanctions should surpass Kim Jong Un's expectations, and a resolution should be passed as soon as possible.

Permanent members Russia and China, however, have expressed opposition to sanctions that could disrupt North Korea's oil supply and lead to the collapse of the country's economy.

Chinese Ambassador Liu Jieyi said China believes new sanctions should aim to ease tensions, work toward denuclearization and maintain peace and stability — goals that, according to Beijing, would not be met with tighter sanctions that could cripple Pyongyang.

House Republicans and Democrats did not necessarily share that view over the weekend. Both parties agreed on the need for stronger sanctions and improved missile defense capabilities, South Korean news service Newsis reported. U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. Paul Ryan said the United States will not be intimidated by "belligerent dictator" Kim Jong Un, pointing out the House passed a sanctions bill in January.

Ryan said the North Korea threat needs to be met with stronger missile defense capabilities and that new strategies need to be created with U.S. partners in the region.

But China is becoming increasingly vocal in its opposition to the deployment of U.S. defense system Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, on the Korean peninsula.

JTBC reported Chinese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Liu Zhenmin called in the South Korean ambassador to Beijing to formally lodge a complaint about U.S. and South Korea discussions of THAAD.

THAAD deployment is under review, according to Seoul.

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