Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. The North Koreans do something provocative (nuclear test, missile launch, etc.); the world rises as one to soundly and firmly condemn this grave violation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions, a demonstration of solidarity that lasts perhaps, if we’re lucky, 24 hours; then the squabbling begins as to how severe the consequences will be. This results in a watered down UNSC resolution with some new (unlikely to be completely enforced) sanctions, an expression of outrage by Pyongyang and then another act of provocation.
The debate goes on at the UN over just how strong the sanctions will be, with Washington, Seoul, and Tokyo promising “painful” sanctions to demonstrate it is no longer “business as usual” and Beijing, not always but this time joined by Moscow, calling on “all sides” to refrain from destabilizing actions, as if “all sides” were at fault for the latest crisis.
Meanwhile, Pyongyang, convinced that such actions ultimately do more to divide than to unite the international community, sits back and dreams up new ways of threatening all-out war. Read more
[“Japan Times” Opinion piece by Ralph Cossa, president of the Pacific Forum CSIS in Honolulu]