対「北」制裁決議 厳格な履行へカギ握る中国

The Yomiuri Shimbun
China holds key to strictly enforcing sanctions resolution on North Korea
対「北」制裁決議 厳格な履行へカギ握る中国

It is crucial for the international community to stand united and crank up the pressure on North Korea to bring about Pyongyang’s abandonment of its nuclear weapons program.

The U.N. Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution that significantly strengthens sanctions on North Korea in response to its latest defiant nuclear test and launch of a long-range ballistic missile.

This is the fifth resolution imposing sanctions on North Korea. While it was unusual that it took nearly two months after the nuclear test to reach an agreement on the resolution, the sanctions are the toughest imposed on North Korea to date.

The resolution obliges states to inspect all cargo going to and from North Korea, rather than limiting inspections to shipments suspected to contain embargoed goods in fields related to Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile development programs.

Most noteworthy is that these steps are aimed squarely at revenue sources of the military and the Workers’ Party of Korea — two mainstays of the Kim Jong Un regime.

The resolution bans, in principle, exports of North Korean mineral resources, including coal and iron ore. It also placed an embargo on aviation fuel, a step aimed at weakening the military. If the sanctions are strictly enforced, we think they will deliver a strong blow to the Kim administration, which has been recklessly pursuing nuclear missile development.

North Korea bristled at moves to adopt the resolution. The official Korean Central News Agency described them as an “infringement on [North Korea’s] sovereignty and [a] grave challenge to it.”

Shortly after the resolution was adopted, North Korea fired six projectiles thought to be short-range missiles or rockets into the Sea of Japan. Vigilance must be maintained against further military provocations.

Do not allow loophole

Having China stand front and center is paramount for sharpening the effect of these sanctions. There are suspicions that previously goods were illicitly transported to and from North Korea via China.

The latest sanctions resolution allows, as an exception, the export of North Korean coal and iron ore provided revenue from their sale is spent for civilian purposes. The decision to buy these resources rests with China and other importing nations. This must not become a loophole used to flout the resolution.

Discussions on the resolution became protracted because the United States was demanding tough sanctions, which China strongly resisted.

Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit the United States at the end of March. We wonder if China relented in an attempt to avoid criticism for dragging out the resolution discussions at a time when Washington and Beijing are at odds over the situation in the South China Sea.

Russia wanted to make changes to the resolution during the final stage of the discussions. It appears Russia’s intention was to secure some influence in Korean Peninsula affairs.

Japan, as a nonpermanent member of the Security Council, contributed to the adoption of the resolution. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe emphasized Japan will “work with the international community and rigorously implement [the resolution].”

The resolution also mentioned “the humanitarian concerns of the international community” with regard to North Korea. Based on close cooperation among Japan, the United States and South Korea, it is vital that the nuclear and missile problems are linked to seeking progress in resolving the abduction of Japanese nationals by North Korea.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 4, 2016)

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