The United States on Monday flatly rejected a proposal from China and Russia on how to lower tensions on the Korean Peninsula, which is likely to make it difficult for the United Nations Security Council to agree on a response to North Korea's hydrogen bomb test over the weekend.
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said the U.S. would be circulating a proposed resolution on North Korea this week, and would push for a vote next week.
While it's not clear what that language will say, both China and Russia made it clear they were unlikely to support more sanctions, and instead played up their joint call for North Korea to stop its military aggression in return for both South Korea and the U.S. to stop their military exercises.
Haley called that idea "insulting."
"The idea that some have suggested, a so-called freeze for freeze, is insulting," she said. "When a rogue regime has a nuclear weapon, and an ICBM pointed at you, you do not take steps to lower your guard. No one would do that. We certainly won't."
Instead, she hinted at the idea of tough sanctions that would be imposed on any country that does any business with North Korea.
But after she spoke, both Russia and China made it clear they don't like that idea.
Liu Jeiyi, China's ambassador to the UN, promoted the China-Russia plan as "practical and feasible," and noted it would call on the U.S. and South Korea to "suspend their large scale military exercises."
Russia's ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, noted that Haley summarized how past UN resolutions failed to contain North Korea, and argued they failed because they relied on sanctions, not dialogue.
"This excursus into history only serves as evidence of the fact that we failed to resolve this issue through Security Council resolutions which were only geared towards leveraging sanctions mechanisms," he said.
Those major splits make it unclear if the Security Council can successfully pass any new language on North Korea.
Last month, the Council successfully passed a resolution sanctioning North Korea after a wave of new missile tests. But in July, Russia vetoed a resolution denouncing a test North Korea made on July 4.