North Korea on Friday accused the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and South Korea’s intelligence service of a plot to attack its “supreme leadership” with a bio-chemical weapon and said such a “pipe-dream” could never succeed. Tension on the Korean peninsula has been high for weeks, driven by concern that North Korea might conduct its sixth nuclear test or test-launch another ballistic missile in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions.
China’s U.N. ambassador never mentioned the suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria, or U.S. airstrikes, at an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council Friday. Instead, Liu Jieyi focused on the need for a political solution to the six-year conflict. China usually supports Russia, a close ally of Syria that accused the U.S. of aggression and violation of international law with Thursday night’s missile strike. But Liu steered clear of any criticism, referring obliquely to “some complicated new situations” in Syria in recent days which the international community must watch.
Russia recognizes west Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the Russian Foreign Ministry stated in a surprise announcement on Thursday, obtained exclusively by The Jerusalem Post. The announcement comes as US President Donald Trump’s administration is agonizing over whether to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a move that would constitute recognizing west Jerusalem as the country’s capital. No other country in the world recognizes any part of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The statement issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry reads, “We reaffirm our commitment to the UN-approved principles for a Palestinian-Israeli settlement, which include the status of East Jerusalem as the capital of the future Palestinian state. At the same time, we must state that in this context we view West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel”. According to the statement, “The stalling of the Middle East peace process has created conditions for unilateral moves that undermine the potential for an internationally accepted solution to the Palestinian problem, under which two states – Israel and Palestine – could live in peace and security with each other and with their neighbors”. The statement continued that “The concrete parameters of a solution for the entire range of issues regarding the status of Palestinian territories, including Jerusalem, should be coordinated at the direct talks between the parties involved”. Using its opportunities as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, a co-sponsor of the peace process and an active member of the Middle East Quartet of international intermediaries, Russia will continue to provide assistance to the achievement of Israeli-Palestinian agreements.
The United Nations Security Council on Wednesday adopted a new sanctions resolution against North Korea, ramping up earlier punitive measures following the reclusive country’s fifth and largest nuclear test in September. The 17-page resolution was unanimously adopted by the 15-member council after the text was settled upon in protracted negotiations between the United States, its author, and China, the North’s closest ally and major trading partner.
On Tuesday, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault called on the UN Security Council to convene an emergency meeting on the Syrian city of Aleppo in order to resolve the humanitarian situation in the city. “Faced with the humanitarian catastrophe in Aleppo, he demanded immediate meeting of the UN Security Council in order to examine the situation in the martyred city and the ways of delivering relief to the people”. On Wednesday, the French Foreign Ministry is set to receive President of the City Council of Aleppo Brita Hagi Hassan.