Saturday, October 14, 2006

Sanctions, Interrupted

The UN vote to impose sanctions against North Korea may be delayed by China and Russia.

The US and Japanese are pushing to get a resolution adopted today. Japan has already imposed its own sanctions on North Korea.

So why the power play by China and Russia? They keep raising new objections that will be assured of further watering down an already tepid resolution.
U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said the changes sought by Moscow and Beijing were essentially technical in nature and a vote may still be possible Saturday.

The five permanent council members — the U.S., Russia, China, Britain and France — and Japan were to meet in the morning before the full 15-member council convenes to discuss the changes.

"I'm still ready to go for a vote, and we'll just have to see what the instructions are overnight, in particular from Moscow and China," Bolton said late Friday.

The latest draft demands North Korea eliminate all its nuclear weapons but expressly rules out military action against the country, a demand by the Russians and Chinese. The Americans also eliminated a complete ban on the sale of conventional weapons; instead, the draft limits the embargo to major hardware such as tanks, warships, combat aircraft and missiles.

But the resolution would still ban the import or export of material and equipment that could be used to make nuclear weapons or ballistic missiles, and would authorize all countries to inspect cargo leaving and arriving in North Korea to prevent any illegal trafficking.

In another key change to gain Chinese and Russian support, the resolution now says local authorities will cooperate in the inspection process, which covers shipments by land, air and sea. Both China and Russia share borders with North Korea and are uncomfortable with the possibility of the U.S. inderdicting ships near their coasts. Bolton said he expected most actions would be performed at ports.
Because North Korea is their client state and they don't want to lose one of the few chips they can play against the US and Western governments. And both have looked the other way as they provided ongoing aid to North Korea.

Tests last nite appear to have detected radioactive materials were emitted from the area where the seismic event occurred. However, it is all but a certainty that it was indeed a nuclear test, and perhaps a fizzle.

The UN passed the resolution unanimously, though it is far from sufficient to deter North Korea from continuing its militarism and nuclear weapons program. It specifically and explicitly rules out the use of force to enforce the resolution. Resolution 1718 includes a ban on imports on many military items and imposes financial sanctions, but is not backed by the threat of military force. In other words, diplomats love it and the military and the rest of us have to perpare for the worst.

Also blogging: Stop the ACLU, Hot Air, Wizbang, Flopping Aces, Atlas Shrugs, and Ed Morrissey.

Here's a surprise. North Korea completely rejects any sanctions. Even ones that can't be enforced militarily. Oh, and North Korea gave Iran missile technology.

Bush calls this a tough message? Yeah, comfy chair tough. Chalk one up for the UN. Iran is certainly watching and taking notes.

Talking with North Korea doesn't work. Kim has repeatedly shown himself to be untrustworthy, and violating agreements. Yet, that's precisely what the Left wants the Bush Administration to do. That's a route chosen before, and North Korea produced nuclear materials in secret because there was no verification that North Korea was in compliance with the Agreed Framework. The Bush Administration has pursued Six Party talks because it believes that greater leverage can be had in this manner. That, and the North Koreans don't want Six Party Talks. The North fears Six Party talks because they'd run the risk of being hung out to dry by China and/or Russia.

Blackfive comments on the resolution and notes that Bolton has done quite a good job pushing US interests - and should provide a recess appointment because the Senate Democrats continue to stand in the way of confirming him. However, as I noted above, the resolution is all but toothless.

Greg Tinti provides an update and overview of where we stand.

The Moderate Voice and Outside the Beltway note the adoption of the resolution. And the view isn't particularly good. The net effect of the UN resolution? Zero.

Macranger thinks the real kingmaker is China, and the US better be taking this into account. They're a threat down the road, and are using North Korea for all its worth. Conservative Warrior, concurs, and thinks that the Administration backed down by not putting sufficient pressure on the Chinese.

Others blogging: Politburo Diktat, FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog, and Pajamas Media.

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