Global effort on North Korea gets Beijing boost

Remigio Civitarese
Agosto 12, 2017

As a CBS News Poll shows Americans are increasingly anxious about North Korea's nuclear weapons program - and President Trump's ability to handle the threat - we look at how the new United Nations sanctions against Kim Jong Un's regime are meant to work - and why they may not. North Korea earns approximately $3 billion per year from exports, according to the USA mission to the United Nations, meaning the sanctions could block as much as one-third of North Korea's revenue.

President Donald Trump tweeted Friday that the USA military is "locked and loaded" as he warned North Korea against threatening the US, escalating an exchange of threats between the nuclear-armed nations.

From Beijing's point of view, encirclement by USA military power is a bigger security threat than North Korea's nukes, and Chinese leaders are unlikely to put enough pressure on North Korea to risk the collapse of a valuable buffer state. At an emergency Security Council session at the beginning of July, Russia expressed doubt that the missile launched was, in fact, an ICBM, while both China and Russia rejected the idea of sanctions or military escalation.

Noting that sanctions are necessary but not the ultimate goal, the Minister said the measure aimed to bring parties concerned back to the negotiating table so as to seek a peaceful solution to North Korea's nuclear issue and realise denuclearisation as well as lasting peace and stability on the peninsula.

At the same time, US officials acknowledge that even if the sanctions are properly enforced, there is no guarantee they will be any more effective than previous rounds, which have failed to halt steady progress in North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

Even as the top United States diplomat seeks to ratchet up the pressure, he threw an olive branch to North Korea during remarks to the press on Tuesday: "We hope that at some point, they will begin to understand that and that we would like to sit and have a dialogue with them about the future that will give them the security they seek", he said. "We must be tough & decisive!", Trump wrote in a post on Twitter. Hours after Trump's blustery threat, North Korea publicly released a strike plan for attacking US military bases on Guam, which hardly suggests it will be intimidated into negotiations.

As a matter of urgency, Ruggiero argued, the USA should punish Chinese banks and companies helping North Korea evade sanctions.

In remarks to reporters Monday morning, Tillerson said the best signal North Korea could give that it was prepared for negotiations with the US would be to halt its missile launches. Alongside its ritual ballistic missile tests, North Korea has conducted nuclear tests on five occasions, two of which in 2016.

Another diplomat, however, said there was no real disagreement on the contents of the communique and stressed that the initial draft was seen by some members as weak.

Kang and Ri will attend the annual ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) to be held later on Monday where the North's nuclear and missile threats will be high on the agenda.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of soldiers and citizens role through the streets of the capital Pyongyang to take part in the North's military parades.

Wang said that apart from the new sanctions, the resolution also made clear that the six-party talks process, a stalled dialogue mechanism with North Korea that also includes Russian Federation and Japan, should be restarted.

Responding to the ICBM provocation with a show of force, the US and South Korean troops on Wednesday conducted "deep strike" precision missile drills using Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) and the Republic of Korea's Hyunmoo Missile II.

Last year, then South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se had a brief meeting with Ri on the sidelines of the ASEAN meetings in Laos.

A similar stance was also emphasized in an earlier statement made via the North Korean regime's official KCNA news agency, in which the North threatened to take "righteous action" and make the U.S. "pay the price for its crime... thousands of times" for drafting the sanctions. While the USA position is that North Korea must ultimately give up its nukes, the North insists it must keep them.

For Tillerson's interlocutors worldwide, this is beginning to be a familiar experience: When the top USA diplomat meets with counterparts, many are finding that he's arriving prepared with information on their countries' connections to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and suggestions on how they can reduce them.

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