Sanctions alone WON’T CHANGE North Korea
PYONGYANG NEEDS TO REALISE RECALCITRANT BEHAVIOUR WILL NOT ENSURE SURVIVAL OF THE REGIME
Last week, the United Nations imposed new sanctions on North Korea. Unfortunately, it was not enough to contain the situation. A compromise had to be made to avoid a veto by Russia and China. Therefore, a tougher measure that the United States and other members were hoping for had to be shelved.
Washington got as much as possible out of the UN Security Council with Monday’s unanimous vote to impose new sanctions on North Korea — but that is not enough.
Washington was hoping for a ban on all oil exports to North Korea and the freezing of North Korean assets outside the country. But this latest measure, the strongest yet, includes a ban on textile exports, and the right to inspect ships going into and out of the country.
The goal is to force Pyongyang to give up its nuclear and missile programmes. Obviously, it has not worked. But that does not mean the measures are worthless.
Not unexpectedly, North Korea hit out against the UN resolution. Pyongyang “sternly denounces and utterly rejects” the latest UN Security Council resolution, a statement said. Pyongyang also reiterated that it will “need to follow this path even faster without changing until we see the end”.
North Korea warned that the United States would “suffer the greatest pain”.
In the eventual analysis, the latest UN sanction is a very small step when one takes into consideration the ultimate aim.
But the UN initiative is not the only way to earn legitimacy in the campaign against North Korea. A “coalition of the willing”, as seen in the US-led wars against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, was created without UN backing.
In other words, it should not come as a surprise if the US decides to act unilaterally. Of course, there could be a nasty reaction from China, North Korea’s ally, and main trading partner.
US President Donald Trump said the latest sanction was a “very small step”. It not only reflects Washington’s dissatisfaction. It also suggested that they might be up to something that could very well be above and beyond the UN resolution.
North Korea’s nuclear and longrange missile development will not make it safer. It may help Pyongyang increase its bargaining power but it will not shield it from strikes by the US and its allies.
The world has to make it clear to Pyongyang and spell out clearly what the consequences would be should North Korea cross the red line that has yet to be defined.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has shown the world that for him the welfare of his people is not important. They have been suffering for decades and sanctions are likely to make their lives even more miserable.
But for Kim, the survival of the regime is of the utmost importance. Kim believes a nuclear weapon is his best insurance against regime change.
The challenge for the world is how to let Pyongyang know that even with nuclear weapons they will not be safe if they don’t change their behaviour towards their neighbours and the rest of the world.
The conversation among the world community is to stop North Korea’s nuclear bomb project at all costs. This means a first strike is also an option.
But the humanitarian cost will be so enormous that the US and its coalition members, if any, will have to really do some serious soulsearching. But the world must not stop looking for incentives to make North Korea to behave reasonably.