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Russia blocks UN condemnation of North Korea's missile launch

The UN Security Council holds an emergency meeting on the situation on the Korean Peninsula at the United Nations headquarters in New York City on July 5, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Russian diplomats have objected to a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) condemnation of North Korea's recent missile launch, saying the US-drafted statement referred to it as an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
Russia's UN mission said in an email to its Security Council colleagues on Thursday that Moocow believed Pyongyang fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile on Tuesday.
"The rationale is that based on our (Ministry of Defense’s) assessment we cannot confirm that the missile can be classified as an ICBM," the mission said, adding, "Therefore we are not in a position to agree to this classification on behalf of the whole council since there is no consensus on this issue."
According to the draft statement, the council would start work on "further significant measures" against North Korea. 
The UNSC statements have to be agreed by all 15-members. It was not immediately clear if the US would continue to negotiate with Russia in an effort to reach a council consensus on a statement of condemnation.
The council met on Wednesday to discuss the missile launch by North Korea.
US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley slammed Russia's reluctance to recognize that North Korea had test-launched an ICBM.
US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley confers with an aide during an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council at the UN headquarters in New York City on July 5, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
"If you need any sort of intelligence to let you know that the rest of the world sees this as an ICBM, I'm happy to provide it," she told the council.
Haley said the US would propose new UN sanctions in coming days.
She also warned that if Russia and China did not support the move, then "we will go our own path." Haley said Washington was ready to use force "if we must."
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi have already urged dialogue and restraint to cool down the current confrontations on the Korean Peninsula.
The two diplomats said in a recent joint statement that the international community should take collective measures to settle the current crisis peacefully instead of pushing it to an armed conflict.
Russia and China have also called on North Korea, South Korea and the United States to sign up to a Chinese de-escalation plan designed to defuse tensions around Pyongyang's missile program. The plan would see North Korea suspend its ballistic missile program and the United States and South Korea simultaneously call a moratorium on large-scale military exercises.
People watch a television news broadcast showing a North Korean announcer reading a statement on the country's new test, at a railway station in Seoul on July 4, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
On June 3, the United Nations Security Council imposed a fresh array of sanctions on North Korea in response to a number of missile tests carried out by Pyongyang this year.
Unsettled by North Korean missile and nuclear programs, the United States has adopted a war-like posture, sending a strike group and conducting joint military drills with North Korea’s regional adversaries Japan and South Korea.
North Korea accuses the United States of plotting with regional allies to overthrow its government. Pyongyang says it will not relinquish its nuclear deterrence unless the United States ends its hostile policy toward North Korea and dissolves the US-led UN command in South Korea.

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