Posted tagged ‘UN Security Council’

UN Passes Mega-Ultra Toughest-Ever North Korea Sanctions, Again

September 12, 2017

UN Passes Mega-Ultra Toughest-Ever North Korea Sanctions, Again, PJ MediaClaudia Rosett, September 12, 2017

(Eliminating Kim Kimchi Jong-un is not a viable solution. China won’t permit regime change and, if China did, there is no reason to assume that Kim’s replacement would be an improvement. Please see also, UN Security Council passes new sanctions against North Korea. Frank Gaffney offers some good ideas and they don’t involve more useless sanctions. — DM)

The fifteen members of the Security Council are seen voting in favor of the new sanctions at a United Nations Security Council meeting regarding nuclear non-proliferation in light of the September 3rd test explosion of a missile-capable nuclear bomb by the Democratic Peoples’ Republic Of Korea (DPRK), at UN Headquarters in New York, NY, USA on September 11, 2017. At the meeting, Council members voted upon a draft Resolution calling for increased economic sanctions against the DPRK. Resolution 2375 was unanimously adopted by the 15 members of the Council. (Photo by Albin Lohr-Jones)(Sipa via AP Images)

Unless the real mission behind these sanctions is to help achieve the only real remedy — which is to take down the Pyongyang regime (not bargain with it) — then beware.

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Yet again, the United Nations Security Council has voted unanimously for a resolution imposing the toughest-ever sanctions on North Korea. This round, responding to North Korea’s test of what Pyongyang claimed was a hydrogen bomb, goes by the label of Resolution 2375, and marks the ninth time over the past 11 years that the UN Security Council — voting unanimously — has approved new sanctions in response to North Korean nuclear and missile tests.

Each round has been tougher than the last. In March, 2016 for instance, following North Korea’s fourth nuclear test, the UN passed Resolution 2270, which former Ambassador Samantha Power described as “so much tougher than any prior North Korea resolution.” Less than nine months later, following North Korea’s fifth nuclear test, came UN Resolution 2321, hailed by CNN as “Toughest UN sanctions yet… .”

You get the idea. This parade of tough-tougher-toughest and tougher-than-toughest UN sanctions has been going on since the UN Security Council in 2006, following North Korea’s first nuclear test, unanimously approved Resolution 1718, imposing sanctions that President Bush described at the time as “swift and tough.”

I’m all in favor of being ultra-tough on North Korea (make that mega-ultra-jumbo-tough, even better). This latest round aims to constrict North Korea’s oil supply, ban its textile imports, curtail its smuggling and end its revenues from joint ventures and laborers working abroad. That’s on top of the web of previous strictures.

But by now one might begin to suspect that sanctions, however tough, are not going to stop Kim Jong Un’s nuclear missile program. It’s a bad sign that these UN resolutions, which routinely begin by listing the relevant previous resolutions, have now achieved a degree of layering that resembles portions of such monstrosities as the Affordable Care Act. The UN has not yet posted the full text of this latest resolution, #2375. But a reasonable proxy can be found in the prior resolution, passed on August 5. Just add one more layer:

“Recalling its previous relevant resolutions, including resolution 825 (1993), resolution 1540 (2004), resolution 1695 (2006), resolution 1718 (2006), resolution 1874 (2009), resolution 1887 (2009), resolution 2087 (2013), resolution 2094 (2013), resolution 2270 (2016), resolution 2321 (2016), and resolution 2356 (2017), as well as the statements of its President of 6 October 2006 (S/PRST/2006/41), 13 April 2009 (S/PRST/2009/7) and 16 April 2012 (S/PRST/2012/13),”

There are two basic problems here.

The first problem is that sanctions are not an airtight proposition. They are more like a sieve than an impermeable barrier. They leak. They erode. For sanctions violators, part of the game is to set up new fronts and devise new deceptions; part is to wait until the immediate crisis passes, and enforcement starts to flag. North Korea has long experience at evading and adapting to sanctions. So do its chief patrons, Russia and China. So does its partner-in-proliferation, Iran, and Iran’s mascot, Syria.

And whatever the reach and coercive financial power of the mighty U.S., it has not sufficed to date to persuade scores of UN member states to comply with the list of sanctions above. The UN fields a Panel of Experts on North Korea sanctions who have been turning in terrific, regular and hefty reports on compliance — or lack of compliance — by UN member states.

Three years ago, in their 2014 report, these experts noted that the problem was not lack of sanctions measures, but lack of compliance:

“At the present time, the Panel does not see new measures as necessary in order to further slow the prohibited programmes of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, to dissuade it from engaging in proliferation activities or to halt its trade in arms and related materiel. Rather, the Panel believes that Member States already have at their disposal adequate tools.”

The UN requires its member states to submit “implementation reports” on how they plan to comply with UN sanctions. Out of the UN’s 193 member states, scores of countries simply don’t do it. Just last week, in an interim report dated Sept. 5, the UN Panel of Experts noted that for the two sanctions resolutions passed last year, the number of non-reporting states remains “significant” — as in, roughly half the UN membership.

Of course, even when countries do submit their implementation reports, that’s no guarantee that North Korea will be deprived of goods for its proliferation programs. For instance, while China has dutifully been filing the required reports to the UN, the Panel of Experts, in their Sept. 5 report, mentioned that North Korea’s military parade this past April included missiles transported on three-axle trucks that had a Chinese manufacturer’s logo on the fuel tank.

In response to the Panel, Chinese authorities provided an array of comments. They posited that such trucks, exported from 2010-2014, were “not under embargo of the Security Council.” They said the exporter and manufacturer of the trucks could not be identified, due to lack of “Vehicle Identification Number and other relevant information.” And they noted that the sales contract “requested explicitly ‘the buyer to ensure the civilian use of the trucks and comply with concerned provisions of Chinese laws and Security Council resolutions.’ “

Ummm…is that supposed to be reassuring?

For North Korea, yet more sanctions might indeed raise the cost of provisioning its nuclear missile program, and shrink the resources available — at least until the regime finds new ways to adapt. But North Korea’s regime has an unswerving record of placing its military and weapons programs above the needs of North Korea’s people. It’s highly unlikely that UN Security Council Resolution 2375 will persuade Kim to abjure ICBMs and hydrogen bombs, in favor of allocating resources to cold and hungry North Koreans.

Which brings us to the second big problem with these UN resolutions. They all aim, quite explicitly, to bring North Korea back to the bargaining table. This is an idea all too prevalent in Washington as well. In testimony on North Korea to the Senate Banking Committee last week, former Acting Secretary of the Treasury Adam Szubin summed it up, saying that sanctions “are meant to incentivize behavioral change.”

Dream on. If North Korea’s regime does come to the bargaining table, that might look like a change in behavior. But everything in the record by now should be telling us that North Korea won’t be coming to relinquish its nuclear missile program. It will be coming to cash in, again, on the illusions of American diplomats. It will be coming to cash in, yet again, on the blinkered expertise of a host of former U.S. officials now treated as sages of North Korea policy because they were intimately involved in nuclear deals… that failed.

Those bargains, and attempted bargains, stretching back to 1994, helped pave the way to the current crisis of nuclear bombs and intercontinental ballistic missiles in the hands of a totalitarian North Korean regime that threatens and mocks the U.S., aspires to subjugate South Korea, is pushing East Asia toward a nuclear arms race, and doubles as a rogue munitions merchant to the world’s worst predators.

On paper, Resolution 2375 might sound like a formula for success, or at least a good move in that direction. Slather more sanctions — the toughest yet! — on North Korea, and hope it leads to a deal. There will now be a new round of Washington conferences, and Op-eds, and reports, and testimony, dissecting and embellishing on the latest sanctions and, when these toughest-ever sanctions turn out to be inadequate to stop Kim’s nuclear projects, recommending yet more sanctions. In Washington, it’s become an industry unto itself — expanding in tandem in tandem with North Korea’s flourishing nuclear program.

Unless the real mission behind these sanctions is to help achieve the only real remedy — which is to take down the Pyongyang regime (not bargain with it) — then beware.

 

UN Security Council passes new sanctions against North Korea

September 12, 2017

UN Security Council passes new sanctions against North Korea, Fox Business News via YouTube, September 11, 2017

As noted in the blurb beneath the video,

Lt. Col. Michael Waltz (Ret.) and Center for Security Policy President Frank Gaffney on the U.N. implementing new sanctions against North Korea.

Haley: North Korea ‘Begging For War’

September 4, 2017

Haley: North Korea ‘Begging For War’ NPR, September 4, 2017

(Finally, Kim has asked for something we can, and should, give him. — DM)

United Nations U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley addresses a U.N. Security Council meeting on North Korea, on Monday.
Bebeto Matthews/AP

Updated at 12:05 p.m. ET

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley tells the U.N. Security Council that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is “begging for war,” with the latest nuclear test that Pyongyang says is its first fusion device, a much more powerful weapon than it has exploded in the past.

“Enough is enough. War is never something the United States wants. We don’t want it now. But our country’s patience is not unlimited,” Haley told an emergency session of the 15-member Security Council in New York.

She said that incremental sanctions on North Korea imposed by the Security Council since 2006 had failed to stop Pyongyang’s march toward more powerful and dangerous weapons. She said Kim appeared to be “begging for war.”

“Despite our efforts the North Korea nuclear program is more advanced and more dangerous than ever,” she said.

“We must adopt the strongest possible measures,” Haley said.

As NPR’s Elise Hu reported on Sunday from Seoul, Pyongyang claims to have successfully tested a hydrogen bomb and said that it had also coupled the the new weapon with one of its long-range intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The U.S. Geological Survey says it detected a 6.3-magnitude “possible explosion” near Sungjibaegam, North Korea, Sunday afternoon that was “located near the sites where North Korea has detonated nuclear [devices] in the past.”

Shortly after the announcement out of North Korea, Defense Secretary James Mattis said President Trump wanted to be briefed on the “many” possible military options available to respond.

Part II: Tough Is Not Enough

September 4, 2017

Part II: Tough Is Not Enough, 38 North, September 4, 2017

(In what fantasy world does the author live? He states,

What sort of deployments (strategic systems, missile defense, precision strike conventional weapons, conventional land, sea, special and air forces) would be a function of both military and diplomatic would need to be hammered out in the National Security Council and with regional allies.

It is inconceivable that the UN Security Council, where each permanent member has a veto, would approve any “deployment of significant and visible assets [which] would make it clear to the DPRK that it cannot compete with the US in the nuclear field regardless of the size, scope, pace and duration of that effort.”  Even were it to happen, North Korea would be told, in advance, how to prepare for whatever America and perhaps our allies will do when North Korea again tests or uses a nuke or missile. 

Please see also, North Korea Nuclear Test Puts Pressure on China and Undercuts Xi. — DM)

North Korea Nuclear Test Puts Pressure on China and Undercuts Xi

In Part I of this seriesI argued that advocates for “getting tough on North Korea” were prone to adopt inappropriate models for a harsher sanctions regime and to ignore the risk of counterproductive North Korean reactions to such sanctions. This is not an argument for no more sanctions. Given North Korean progress on its ICBM and nuclear weapons capabilities, we remain in an ongoing cycle of actions and reactions that may lead to a major war. A very vigorous political/military effort to contain and eventually eliminate the DPRK nuclear threat is essential now before the tensions and ill-considered rhetoric once again create the risk of the US and North Korea bellowing and stumbling their way into a catastrophic conflict. But sanctions should be only one element of the effort. The final push for a stabilization[1] of the North Korean nuclear and missile issue has to include the following components.

Military Deterrence and Defense

The additional deployment of significant and visible assets would make it clear to the DPRK that it cannot compete with the US in the nuclear field regardless of the size, scope, pace and duration of that effort. What sort of deployments (strategic systems, missile defense, precision strike conventional weapons, conventional land, sea, special and air forces) would be a function of both military and diplomatic would need to be hammered out in the National Security Council and with regional allies. The purpose of these forces would be both to provide diplomatic leverage and to prevent Kim from believing a military gamble would pay off.

Sanctions and Targeted Secondary Sanctions

The sanctions campaign should begin with the enforcement of UNSCRs 2270 and 2371. The initial goal would be to get full compliance with some of the difficult-to-enforce provisions, notably the caps on joint ventures and on North Korean labor exports. To this end, the US should target secondary sanctions on Chinese and other third country entities that are violating the UN resolutions. Rather than seeking to squash every sanctions-evading gnat, it should inflict significant pain on one large and vulnerable entity to have a bracing effect on many more. And, it might well create massive ripple effects if it is a key node in North Korea’s sanctions evasion network—for example, Chinese companies outlined in the recent C4ADS report—that are clearly violating UN sanctions and making extensive use of the US banking system. The US may also wish to find a similar target outside the Chinese network of businesses—perhaps one in a friendly Middle Eastern or African country that has chosen to ignore past US efforts to cut connections to Pyongyang. The US should for now avoid steps to coerce others to accept its own definition of sanctions that go beyond the resolutions. It appears that the most recent sanctions by the US Treasury against Chinese, Russian and one Namibian entity, as well as a recent freeze on some aid to Egypt, may fit the model described above.

However, it is unlikely the UN sanctions as currently written will suffice. The US should be building the case now for significant sanctions tightening if North Korea does not shift its current direction. This should best be done in steps, perhaps starting with the change of the labor and investment caps and moving to a full ban as a first iteration with the dusted off version of UNSCR 661 as the final alternative to military conflict. As the risk of conflict moves closer, the US will have to consider when secondary sanctions as a coercive mechanism for third countries needs to be deployed more widely. This is a high-risk enterprise in an already risky situation, but when stacked up against nuclear war in Asia, surely secondary sanctions are preferable.

Many Tracks of Diplomacy

These tough military and sanctions components will do nothing but open the door to miscalculation and war if other “softer” components are ignored or—more likely—mishandled. A stabilization of the Korean nuclear and missile issue is going to require multilateral diplomacy—and only the US has the ability to be at the center of this effort. It cannot subcontract the effort primarily to China. The PRC does not have the entre with some of the players, nor could it speak for the US to the most difficult audience of all: Pyongyang. These rings of diplomatic activity have existed in one form or another for many years, but they will need to be greatly invigorated and placed in the service of a clear set of policy objectives. These rings include:

  • US-ROK and US-Japan: This ring will need to create a solid front on possible military deterrence force deployments and on a sanctions strategy in the United Nations. The Trump administration appears to be in the middle of such an effort.
  • US-PRC: This ring is key. It needs to be removed from undisciplined and uncoordinated public commentary and shifted to sustained bilateral dialogue. Washington will need to enlist Chinese assistance both to create sanctions pressure on Pyongyang and to generate multilateral negotiations and a viable US-DPRK diplomatic channel. The US cannot expect pressure without political dialogue and Beijing cannot expect dialogue without real pressure on Pyongyang. The less we hear about the content of this channel (not to mention the US-DPRK channel) in public the better.
  • UN Security Council: Iraq sanctions failed when P-5 unity in the UNSC failed. The Trump Administration deserves credit for maintaining P-5 unity with the passage of UNSCR 2371, but this will have to be the first of many efforts in the Council.
  • Six Party (US, ROK, China, Russia, Japan and DPRK): At some point this channel will have to generate the political agreements and the framework for a settlement. There is nothing sacred about this particular forum or format, but something like it will have to be active and available for the formal public structure of a diplomatic settlement.
  • A direct US-DPRK channel: With one exception in the second term of the George W. Bush administration, the most rapid and extensive progress I have seen in over 28 years of interchange with North Korea over the nuclear issue has always taken place in a US-DPRK bilateral channel. The potential causes of war lie between Washington and Pyongyang. The US would be well advised to put together a small, tight, empowered negotiating team to create a channel for bilateral discussions. If the leak-prone and undisciplined Trump administration could manage to do so without us all hearing about it, so much the better.

Orchestrating this diplomacy will be one of the most complex challenges of the past 50 years. It is unclear whether the US State Department—suffering from several levels of missing leadership, low morale and persistent and unhelpful interference from the White House—is up to the task. But a way will have to be found to perform it if there is to be success on this issue.

Clarity, Discipline and Accountability in Public Commentary

US diplomacy during the recent dust-up with North Korea over its July ICBM tests was clumsy and amateurish: the incendiary rhetoric coming out of the White House needlessly escalated tensions and the uncoordinated and incoherent public messaging sowed confusion among our allies over US goals and intentions. That said, it did signal that the United States was approaching the limit of its patience over North Korean missile developments. Nevertheless, a policy vacuum continues to exist.

The United States has not made clear to Pyongyang, the American public, or its allies how it would respond to North Korean nuclear intimidation or aggression. There may be a place for strategic ambiguity in deterrence policy under some circumstances but not strategic incoherence. As a result of the loose and imprecise US rhetoric and mixed messaging, all parties are groping for an understanding of what might trigger nuclear conflict in Korea and beyond. To end this confusion and uncertainty, an authoritative figure such as the Secretary of State or Defense should give a policy speech which lays out for the American public, our allies, the Chinese and the North Koreans what American nuclear deterrence policy is vis-a-vis North Korea—and then the White House needs to discipline itself and other agencies to hew scrupulously to this script in all their public messaging on the policy.

The speech or the press backgrounding around it should also designate a single, high level official who would be accountable for the North Korean issue; this is simply not an issue that can survive current White House tong wars, presidential pique or bureaucratic backstabbing. This speech will also be the best place to signal that toughness will be accompanied by dialogue. It needs to open the door to real negotiations with a concrete proposal. This could be done through a proposal to reopen Six Party Talks or through a prearranged signal to Pyongyang that certain words in the speech are an invitation to a private authoritative back-channel discussion.

Goals and Trade Bait

The Obama administration’s efforts on North Korea foundered on a couple of rocks. The first was its inability or unwillingness to commit political capital to an issue that was highly controversial, with a very small (or nonexistent) solution set and a timeline that was less pressing than the Iran nuclear issue. The second was that the only goal for resolving or even trying to resolve the crisis that could garner consensus support was complete DPRK denuclearization. However, given the Obama administration’s unwillingness to invest fully in the issue, the White House’s highly constrained room for political maneuvering and Pyongyang’s commitment to its nuclear strategy, the goal of denuclearization became an obstacle to even starting a process for dealing with Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile progress.

Denuclearization remains a worthy goal and it is the only one that preserves the global nonproliferation regime and the long-term security of the US and its allies. But the first goal of renewed diplomatic engagement needs to be more focused and urgent: to stabilize peace in Northeast Asia and to prevent a stumble into a nuclearized second Korean War. Achieving this goal, by definition, will require North Korea to put limits on its ICBM program, which is the essential immediate need for American security policy. There are interim steps that would be of value in preserving peace and security. The parties might wish to develop mechanisms to prevent accidental war. It might also be a worthy tactical goal to create geographic limits on North Korean missile testing targets, thus putting US territories like Guam and Japanese waters off limits. The US might, at some point, trade off a particular sanction in return for a firm ICBM testing ban or moratorium or a halt to nuclear tests.

At no point should the US take ultimate denuclearization off the table, but it is necessary first to identify immediate steps to stabilize what is a dangerous dynamic. The two great dangers to pursuing more modest, immediate goals will be the accusation the US has “accepted” a nuclear DPRK and the concessions the DPRK may want. Sanctions should be considered legitimate items to trade. Our alliances should not. Our political relationship with the DPRK—including at some point a peace treaty ending the Korean War—should be legitimate points of discussion. Tangible payments to the DPRK should not, given the unfortunate experiences the ROK and US had with such payments in past agreements.

Conclusion

In a policy with any hope of resolving US and global concerns about North Korea’s nuclear and missile threat, sanctions play an important but supporting role. The key to a successful effort to deal with the North Korean threat without war is a combination of military deterrence, sanctions, a complex diplomatic offensive with clear and realistic short-term goals, and perhaps most importantly, a disciplined, clear public elucidation of US deterrence and diplomatic policy for Korea. The “tough” part of this approach (military deterrence and sanctions) is well within the reach of the Trump administration. Whether it has the personnel, structure and capacity for discipline for the diplomatic and public components of the effort is yet unproven.


  1. [1]

    Stabilization is chosen deliberately in this sentence. Denuclearization should be the long term stated goal of the effort but that goal should be placed in the same context as “general and complete disarmament” as used in Article VI of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. It is a legitimate goal, but one that is far over the horizon. The key goal at this moment is to halt momentum towards having North Korean nuclear weapons capable of reaching the US homeland.

U.N. council bans key North Korea exports over missile tests

August 5, 2017

U.N. council bans key North Korea exports over missile tests, ReutersMichelle Nichols, August 5, 2017

(How quickly will China find ways to evade the sanctions, to which it agreed?)

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The United Nations Security Council unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea on Saturday that could slash by a third the Asian state’s $3 billion annual export revenue over Pyongyang’s two July intercontinental ballistic missile tests.

The U.S.-drafted resolution bans North Korean exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood. It also prohibits countries from increasing the current numbers of North Korean laborers working abroad, bans new joint ventures with North Korea and any new investment in current joint ventures.

“We should not fool ourselves into thinking we have solved the problem. Not even close. The North Korean threat has not left us, it is rapidly growing more dangerous,” U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told the council.

“Further action is required. The United States is taking and will continue to take prudent defensive measures to protect ourselves and our allies,” she said, adding that Washington would continue annual joint military exercises with South Korea.

North Korea has accused the United States and South Korea of escalating tensions by conducting military drills.

North Korean ally China and Russia both slammed the U.S. deployment of the THAAD anti-missile defense system in South Korea. China called for a halt to the deployment and for any equipment already in place to be dismantled.

“The deployment of the THAAD system will not bring a solution to the issue of (North Korea’s) nuclear testing and missile launches,” China’s U.N. Ambassador Liu Jieyi told the Security Council after the vote.

 

Haley on North Korean Missile Test: ‘Action is Required. The World is on Notice.’

July 5, 2017

Haley on North Korean Missile Test: ‘Action is Required. The World is on Notice’, Washington Free Beacon via YouTube, July 5, 2017

 

Trudeau buys Broadway tickets for UN tyrants

May 13, 2017

Trudeau buys Broadway tickets for UN tyrants, Rebel Media via YouTube, May 13, 2017

 

According to the blurb beneath the video,

Ezra Levant of TheRebel.media reports on Justin Trudeau purchasing Broadway tickets for intentional tyrants in a move to win a UN Security Council seat. Cuba, China, Venezuela, Burma, and other murderous regimes were in attendance. MORE: https://www.therebel.media/ezra_levan…