Russia, China Stymie North Korea Sanctions Vote
As the United States presented a draft proposal to the UN Security Council for sanctions, China balked on calls for punitive measures against North Korea, just as with Iran. Even though China’s immediate response to the North Korean claims of a nuclear bomb test was forceful, in which it termed North Korean actions as “brazen” and verbalized “resolute opposition,” Kim Jong Il’s sole ally sided with Russian calls to slow the UN process down.
Citing that, while there is common ground among nations, there is also disagreement, China’s U.N. Ambassador Wang Guangya said, “I think that of course people are talking about a possible vote tomorrow, but I’m not sure.” Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said that he also doubts that there will be any vote tomorrow, as called for by Washington.
As part of the United States’ sanctions proposal, South Korea’s governing Uri Party announced that they also oppose a blockade of North Korean ships and other forms of international transport. The United States led Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), often considered the only effective non-proliferation arm in existence, was called “dangerous” by the leader of the South Korean Uri Party, Rep. Kim Geun-tae. North Korea has called the PSI’s actions a “fuse” that could light “a fire cloud of war.” The Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), an international coalition of states seeking to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, was largely responsible for the downfall of the A.Q. Khan network that supplied both Iran and North Korea with nuclear and missile technological assistance.
While the dissention in the ranks among those in opposition to North Korea’s nuclear activities begins in earnest, the banter emanating from Pyongyang crescendos. The Japan based ‘unofficial spokesman’ for Kim Jong Il, Kim Myong-chol, made wild claims and threats against both Japan and the United States. In an MBC Radio interview, the director of the Center for Korean-American Peace warned that North Korea will next test a thermonuclear hydrogen bomb in further efforts to prove to the Americans that the regime is indeed a nuclear power.
Laying blame for events squarely at America’s feet, Kim then said, “If the Bush administration makes more provocations, both New York City and Tokyo will be blazed.” He went on the declare that the “destiny of the Korean Peninsula will be decided within a week” and warned South Korea to remain neutral, as the conflict is between North Korea and the United States. He suggested to the South Korean government, “Seoul should request that Washington not mobilize U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) even if a war breaks out.”
Mr. Kim’s threats are not taken seriously, as North Korea has no known ICBM capability to deliver a weapon to New York City and their summer missile tests were a failure on public display. However, the heated banter continues to crescendo from a number of sources, both inside and outside North Korean territory, and is demonstrative of the North Korean aims: To intimidate the United States into beneficial concessions at a negotiating table.
As the Chinese and Russians demonstrated today, unlike the United States and much of the West, they do not deem the North Korean behavior, activities or potential for proliferation cause enough for immediate action. Any agreement on North Korean sanctions that includes Chinese and Russian approval appears to be as close to materializing as the same for Iran, also delayed this week, with opposition again led by China and Iran.