North Korea Defies Sanctions, Poses Challenge For China

UN Sanctions Intended To Tighten North Korea’s Noose
This week the United Nations Security Council voted unanimously to support a new round of sanctions that will target illicit activity by North Korean diplomats, bulk transfers of cash, and any financial institutions or businesses that siphon funds to North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs.

North Korea on Saturday formally rejected the new sanctions and an unsurprisingly heated response from Kim Jong Un.

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi argued that only dialogue, not recent sanctions passed by the United Nations Security Council, will not lead to a solution to the North Korea nuclear issue and also warned against escalating the crisis.

In Dealing With North Korea, China Walks A Fine Line

China, North Korea’s lone ally in the region, faces a difficult balancing act in maintaining ties with both the West and Pyongyang. For example, while China played a role in shaping the UN sanctions, its record of enforcement of previous sanctions has been spotty at best.

China, US Will Play Key Roles In Negotiations

Few analysts believe that UN sanctions will deter North Korea from growing its nuclear program, so the question is what next? The Financial Times editorial page asserts that China will need to step up to negotiate reconciliation between the two Koreas.

“Instead, the only hope is that the North can be pressured to engage in an armistice with the  South and take measures that reduce escalating tensions. As ever, the critical question is what role China will play. The good news is  that China has been a strong participant in drawing up this week’s UN sanctions resolution, suggesting it is losing patience with its unruly neighbour. But will China implement these and previous sanctions? Many fear that Beijing will go to providing a critical economic lifeline for the North Korean regime,” says the editorial.

US Outlines Its Policy Toward North Korea

The State Department’s special representative on North Korea appeared before Congress on Thursday to provide detail of the administration’s emerging policy on Pyongyang’s nuclear policy.

Glyn Davies told lawmakers that “the United States will not accept North Korea as a nuclear-armed state,” nor will it reward it “for the absence of bad behavior,” but does remain committed to pursuing active diplomacy in coordination with allies, including China.

In his press conference, Jiechi said he believed the US could play a “constructive role” in the Asian peninsula, but cautioned that “the U.S. needs to respect China’s interests and concerns in the region.”

Sanctions Likely To Have Muted Impact In Short-Term

Richard C. Bush concedes that sanctions will not have a direct impact on North Korea’s nuclear program, but says that it will “disabuse it of the idea that the international community will both accept it as a state with nuclear weapons and permit international economic activity on a normal basis. Only when it understands that it can only have one or the other will it even consider making a fundamental choice between the two.”


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