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Security Council Threats Fail to Halt Continued North Korea Missile Tests

Donald Paneth Sep 15

United Nations, New York — The 15-member United Nations Security Council has passed a series of resolutions seeking to sanction North Korea over its intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) program. The latest resolution, unanimously adopted on Monday and sponsored by the United States with the backing of China and Russia, called for the United States and allied naval vessels to stop and interdict ships suspected of carrying war materials, oil, refined gasoline and natural gas to North Korean ports.

Although much of the U.S. media portrayed the resolution as a significant achievement, it was followed by a new missile test from North Korea on Thursday. In response to the new test, North Korea’s farthest missile launch to date, the Security Council convened once more on Friday.

Like its predecessors, Monday’s Security Council resolution, which called on “all member states of the UN to inspect vessels with the consent of the flag state,” lacked an enforcement mechanism. No consent, no inspection — likely why Russia and China did not veto the resolution to begin with.  

Meanwhile, critics of the mounting nuclear panic here in the United States caution that the North Korean firings of ICBMs are a tactical development in the testing of a new weapon, not a strategic mobilization of an arsenal for aggression. It is also worth noting that the United States is in violation of its obligations under the 1968 U.N. Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, since it is carrying out a ten-year, $1-trillion modernization of its own nuclear forces.

Russia has urged a compromise that would see the North Koreans stop testing related to their nuclear program in return for the United States and South Korea suspending joint military exercises. The United States rejected that proposal as “insulting.”

U.N. Secretary General António Guterres has called for a “dialogue” between all the countries that are a party to the conflict including North and South Korea, Japan, China, Russia and the United States. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has also called for negotiations involving multiple countries as was done to defuse the Iranian nuclear crisis. In the meantime, the Security Council’s resolutions have failed to deter continued nuclear tests on the part of North Korea.

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Photo: North Korean flag flying in Pyongyang. Credit: (stephan)/Flickr.)