UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Members of the UN Security Council on Monday voted to override China’s objections and formally add North Korea, including allegations of grave human rights abuses, to the council’s agenda.
There were 11 votes in favour, two against and two abstentions. Russia and China voted against the inclusion of North Korea on the council’s agenda, but as there are no vetoes in procedural votes of the council, the Chinese attempt to defeat the measure failed.
It has been nearly a decade since the council held a similar procedural vote. Previously, the council’s discussion of North Korea was limited to its nuclear weapons programme. But with the vote, all aspects of the country can now be scrutinised by the 15-nation body.
Before the vote, China’s UN ambassador told council members “the Security Council is not the forum to get involved in human rights issues” and that it “should refrain from doing anything that might cause an escalation”.
After the vote, a formal meeting on North Korea began immediately, as requested by Australian Ambassador Gary Quinlan, who described the council move as “an historic step”.