Two hours before North Korea fired a suspected ballistic missile on Tuesday morning, an urgent, closed-door meeting of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) was underway at the UN Headquarters in New York. The UNSC members were discussing how to respond to North Korea’s firing of ballistic missile last week, which the country claimed to be a hypersonic missile.
According to diplomatic sources, the UNSC meeting continued for an hour from 3 p.m. on Monday. North Korea launched another missile one and a half hour after the UNSC ended discussions.
However, the UNSC did not present its position on North Korea’s repeated provocations. The UNSC’s response usually ranges from the adoption of a legally binding resolution to a statement from the president and statement to the press. But this time, the UNSC did none of them, showing its incompetency. The UNSC held an emergency meeting when North Korea test-fired a hypersonic missile and a submarine-launched ballistic missile in September and October of last year, respectively, but failed to come to a conclusion of condemning North Korea.
Experts point out that the UNSC continues to appear powerless in the face of North Korea’s firing of ballistic missiles because permanent members China and Russia, which take side with North Korea, remain passive in adopting a statement.
With the UNSC failing to come up with a UN-level response, the U.S., Japan, U.K., France, Ireland and Albania had to content with announcing a joint statement condemning North Korea’s firing of a missile on Jan. 5 before the start of the meeting. South Korea did not join in issuing the statement.