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July 15, 2006
Sanctions For North Korea

The UN Security Council voted unanimously to impose sanctions on North Korea in response to its missile tests, forbidding the sale of any material with use for its rocket program. The Russians and Chinese agreed to the sanctions if references to Chapter VII were removed, preventing escalation to military action:

The U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution Saturday condemning North Korea's recent missile tests and demanding that the reclusive communist nation suspend its ballistic missile program.

The agreement was reached after a last-minute compromise between Japan, the United States and Britain, who wanted a tough statement, and Russia and China, who favored weaker language.

North Korea vowed to continue missile launches "as part of its effort to bolster deterrent for self-defense in the future," said Pak Gil Yon, North Korea's U.N. ambassador.

Does this have teeth? If followed by all UN member states as required, it means that North Korea cannot replace parts or purchase any raw materials required to build its missiles. That puts a huge dent in their legitimate exports of missiles, one of the few sources of hard currency they have (other than their counterfeiting operations). For this reason, Pyongyang has long warned that they would consider such sanctions as an act of war. At the moment, they've satisfied themselves with an immediate rejection of the resolution and a pledge to continue their missile tests.

How will Kim react? He has miscalculated his diplomatic strength, quite obviously, and he will need to reconsider his relationship with China. Specifically, he has to wonder what Japan and the US said to get China to betray him at the UNSC, not just refusing to veto the proposal but actually voting for its adoption. If it has anything to do with a change of status in Japan's military capabilities, then Kim will find that he has seriously overestimated his worth to the Chinese.

In the short run, these sanctions -- if kept firmly in place -- will hurt the starving North Koreans. With their main export stripped from them, they will sink even further into despair and poverty. In the long run, it may force the Chinese to put enough pressure on Kim to step down or disappear altogether before China gets overrun by economic refugees of Kim's incompetent management.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 15, 2006 5:23 PM

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» U.N. Security Council unanimously imposes weapons-related sanctions on North Korea from Morning Coffee
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