Only UN Security Council can decide new sanctions on Pyongyang

Source:Global Times Published: 2017/11/30 23:58:39

At Wednesday's emergency UN Security Council meeting, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley urged all countries to sever diplomatic relations with North Korea and requested China cut off oil supplies. It's an unprecedentedly strong reaction from Washington after Pyongyang successfully launched an intercontinental ballistic missile that puts the continental United States within range. The US-North Korea conflicts have escalated to a tipping point.

Pyongyang has finally realized its dream of having the capability to threaten the continental US, but how Washington reacts is beyond Pyongyang's control.

The Donald Trump administration will not accept being threatened by Pyongyang. The US is impossible to deter, and its first response is to exert retaliatory pressure on North Korea to prove it is not defeated in this duel.

Washington's calls to cut diplomatic ties and oil supplies to North Korea reflect its determination to politically and economically stifle Pyongyang. Trump named Kim Jong-un "a sick puppy" on Wednesday, highlighting his determination to "totally destroy" North Korea.

If Pyongyang continues to act tough against Washington and wantonly boasts about its missile technology, the situation will become even more dangerous. North Korea has successfully launched the Hwasong-15 missile, but it will take some time to equip it with a nuclear warhead. There must be voices in the White House calling for decisive military attacks against North Korea during the interval to destroy the country's nuclear capabilities.

Voices do not so easily become policies. We sincerely hope North Korea will stop provoking the US and not overestimate its ability to deter Washington. Now is the most dangerous moment for Pyongyang. The country's leader should be clear-headed.

Aside from United Nations sanctions, China and Russia will not impose any additional unilateral punishments on North Korea as the US is hoping. Calls to cut diplomatic ties and oil supplies to Pyongyang will not be approved by the UN Security Council either. Washington's fury is understandable. Yet the UN sanctions are not to be manipulated at the behest of the US, but rather as a solution for the international community to cope with Pyongyang's upgraded nuclear and missile capabilities.

Beijing has substantially capped its oil exports to Pyongyang in accordance with the UN resolution. It's now winter, and an oil embargo would hurt people's livelihoods and might even trigger a humanitarian crisis. China would never adopt such extreme measures against North Korea, and we believe Beijing and Moscow would not support such a proposal by the US.

China's national interests are not the only consideration in its North Korea policy, but they cannot be sacrificed to any US agenda. Washington, Seoul and Tokyo hope Beijing will cut oil supplies to Pyongyang, and one of their motives is to undermine the Sino-North Korean relationship. China is not a chess piece for others to deploy.

Beijing has already tried its best to prevent the Korean Peninsula situation escalating into a war. But a Pyongyang-Washington confrontation and strategic miscalculations are raising the possibilities. China should prepare for the worst so that whatever happens with the peninsula, it's not in a passive position.

Posted in: EDITORIAL

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