China blocked the release on Tuesday of a report by UN experts accusing North Korea of violating UN sanctions that ban the export and import of ballistic missile and nuclear-related items, as well as conventional arms and luxury goods.
Chinese UN Ambassador Li Baodong told reporters after a closed-door meeting of the Security Council to discuss implementation of two rounds of sanctions against North Korea that Beijing is “still studying that report.”
The report by seven independent experts appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to monitor implementation of sanctions was sent to the 15 Security Council members for their approval by Tuesday morning. Diplomats said China was the only country that objected to its immediate release.
British Deputy UN Ambassador Philip Parham said there was “pretty broad support” for the report in the council, but China had problems with it.
The panel’s first report, in May last year, was also held up by China. It was finally released in November after Beijing dropped its objections.
The report says North Korea remains “actively engaged” in exporting ballistic missiles, components and technology to numerous customers in the Middle East and South Asia in violation of UN sanctions.
The panel said prohibited ballistic missile-related items are suspected to have been transferred between North Korea and Iran on regularly scheduled Air Koryo and Iran Air flights, with transshipment through a third country that diplomats identified as China.
At a press conference yesterday, a Chinese foreign ministry official denied that such shipments to Iran and other Middle East countries came through China.
“I completely deny such reports,” Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Hu Zhengyue (胡正躍) told reporters.