After a new long-range missile launch and nuclear test, even China has lost patience with its client state North Korea. Beijing has reached agreement with the US on a new, tougher round of sanctions on Pyongyang in response to the DPRK’s continued violation of UN sanctions, and will bring them to the Security Council later this morning:
The United States and China have reached agreement on a new draft sanctions resolution to punish North Korea for its latest nuclear test, U.N. diplomats said late Monday.
The U.N. Security Council announced late Monday evening that it will hold closed consultations on North Korea and non-proliferation at 11 a.m. (1600 GMT) Tuesday. The diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity because no official announcement has been made, said the United States is expected to circulate a draft resolution to the full council at the meeting. Council members are then expected to send the draft to their capitals for review.
All 15 council members approved a press statement condemning Pyongyang’s nuclear test and pledging further action hours after North Korea carried out its third atomic blast on Feb. 12.
The swift and unanimous response from the U.N.’s most powerful body set the stage for a fourth round of sanctions against Pyongyang.
The Russian ambassador to the UN had alerted media yesterday that the UNSC would move on some sort of action on North Korea this month. This is probably a little more expeditious than most would expect the UN to be. The key in this case is China, which usually acts to provide diplomatic cover for the Kim regime, but clearly Beijing shares in the frustration of the other parties to the six-nation talks over the incorrigible and irrational nature of the DPRK.
And as if on cue, Pyongyang goes out of its way to prove that point:
North Korea is vowing to cancel the 1953 Korean War cease-fire because of sanctions and ongoing U.S.-South Korean joint military drills.
North Korea’s Korean People’s Army Supreme Command made the statement Tuesday amid reports that Washington and North Korean ally Beijing have approved a draft of punishing resolutions that is expected to be circulated among U.N. Security Council members this week.
Normally, a country with only one friend in the world would take heed when that friend joins everyone else in imposing sanctions. Not the Kim regime, though; it reacted to China’s relatively blunt message by threatening to go to war. As the AP explains, that’s exactly the formulation that might provoke China to rid itself of its increasingly-dangerous appendage altogether:
The course to take regarding North Korea still hangs on China’s fear that, if North Korea were to collapse economically, a flood of refugees would head for China, diplomats at the UN tell CBS News.
But, Falk adds, the fact that China came to the table, again, to impose tougher sanctions, is a reflection of China’s new leadership and an accumulated frustration with North Korea’s intransigence with regard to its nuclear program.”
Any military action by Pyongyang will get a military response, and the refugees will indeed come streaming over the border, as China fears. Before that happens, China might decide to finally decapitate the Kim monarchy, and stop a war and its inevitable refugee flood before it starts. Kim Jong-un and his clique are playing with fire, and either can’t or won’t realize that they are very much all alone in their zeal for war.