The United Nations, at the urging of the U.S., issued new sanctions against North Korea Saturday for recent intercontinental ballistic missile tests, prompting the bellicose nation to issue a response promising a “thousand-fold” revenge.
Despite Kim Jong Un’s desire to be as close to the caricature of his father so brilliantly portrayed in “Team America: World Police,” the threat is not to be taken lightly. First, because most reports agree that the newest missiles in the North Korean arsenal have the potential to reach the U.S. mainland, and they’re not going to give that leverage up easy; and second, because while China is cooperating at the moment with the sanctions, they are also cautioning the U.S. about its “arrogance” regarding the tiny Asian nation.
China’s foreign minister warned on Sunday that the sanctions – which could slash by a third Pyongyang’s $3 billion annual export revenue – would result in the North Korean nuclear issue entering “a very critical phase.”
And Chinese state media on Monday said that the US needs to rein in its “moral arrogance” over North Korea following the measures.
But Mr Trump continued to highlight the rising threat of Pyongyang in his call with his South Korean counterpart, according to a statement from the White House.
The sanctions — “the single largest economic package ever leveled against the North Korean regime,” said Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the U.N.— ban North Korean exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood and prohibit countries from hiring North Korean workers.
The resolution expresses regret at North Korea’s “massive diversion of its scarce resources toward its development of nuclear weapons and a number of expensive ballistic missile programs” — a point stressed by Haley.
It notes U.N. findings that well over half the population lacks sufficient food and medical care, while a quarter suffers from chronic malnutrition.
“These sanctions will cut deep, and in doing so will give the North Korean leadership a taste of the deprivations they have chosen to inflict on the North Korean people,” Haley said. “Revenues aren’t going toward feeding its people. Instead, the North Korean regime is literally starving its people and enslaving them in mines and factories in order to fund these illegal missile programs.”
While it’s tempting to think this new sanctions package, created as it was between the U.S. and China, might finally bring North Korea to the negotiating table, the U.S. would do well to monitor China’s admonitions and warnings — not to acquiesce necessarily, but to keep a finger always in the wind.
“China’s People’s Daily newspaper, the official mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party, warned that the sanctions could only be effective if they were targeted,” writes The Telegraph. “The US should aim for peace and co-existence rather than geopolitical dominance,” the influential [Chinese] newspaper said.”