Friday, 12 June 2009

United Nations Flexes Muscles at North Korea

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UN Security Council votes on KoreaThe United Nations Security Council on June 12 unanimously approved stringent new sanctions against North Korea, in response to Pyongyang's May 25 nuclear test. Even North Korea's communist allies Russia and China joined in approving the sanctions resolution, which was passed by a 15-0 vote.

Bloomberg News reported that the vote followed almost three weeks of negotiations on tighter sanctions that began after the May 25 test, as well as Pyongyang's rejection of the 1953 armistice ending the Korean War, and its testing of several ballistic missiles.

Bloomberg quoted Russian envoy Vitaly Churkin, who said after the vote: "The additional measures are substantive and targeted in nature and clearly tied to ending the DPRK program to create nuclear missiles. The attempt by the DPRK to create nuclear missiles not only doesn't strengthen security but on the contrary ratchets up tension on the Korean peninsula."

A summary of the Security Council resolution published by the UN News service on June 12 noted:

The United Nations Security Council today imposed tougher sanctions on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), including a tighter arms embargo and new financial restrictions, following the nuclear test conducted by the East Asian nation last month.

By unanimously adopting resolution 1874, the 15-member body condemned the 25 May nuclear test conducted in "violation and flagrant disregard" of relevant Council resolutions, particularly 1695 (2006) and 1718 (2006).

It also demanded that the DPRK "not conduct any further nuclear test or any launch using ballistic missile technology."

The Council imposed a series of measures on the DPRK that include tougher inspections of cargo suspected of containing banned items related to the country's nuclear and ballistic missile activities, a tighter arms embargo with the exception of light weapons and new financial restrictions.

U.S. Alternative Representative for Special Political Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo said that the resolution provides "a strong and united international response" to North Korea's nuclear test, conducted in defiance of a UN-imposed ban following its first underground atomic test in October 2006. "The message of this resolution is clear: North Korea's behavior is unacceptable to the international community and the international community is determined to respond," said DiCarlo. "North Korea should return without conditions to a process of peaceful dialogue."

DiCarlo told the 15-nation Security Council that the resolution created "markedly stronger sanctions" against the North designed to persuade Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear weapons ambitions.

"North Korea chose a path of provocation," said DiCarlo. "This resolution will give us new tools to impair North Korea's ability to proliferate and threaten international stability."

An AP report quoted China's U.N. Ambassador Zhang Yesui, who said that the North Korea's nuclear test had affected regional peace and security. Zhang said the resolution demonstrates the international community's "firm opposition" to the atomic blast, "but also sends a positive signal" by calling for the resumption of six-party talks aimed at dismantling North Korea's nuclear program.

However, Zhang also cautioned against the use of force when inspecting North Korean cargo, as provided for by the resolution.

"Under no circumstances should there be use or threat of the use of force," Zhang said, adding that the inspections should be conducted in accordance with domestic and international law.

In response to Zhang's admonition to go easy on inspections, Nicholas Szechenyi of the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies observed: "It is significant that China and Russia are willing to increase the language on interdiction and financial sanctions, but the resolution will not have that much bite if there is no implementation."

The so-called Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) is a leading candidate for being named one of the most oppressive regimes on the face of the Earth today. In addition to the violations cited by the UN resolution, the nation has a long history of hostile activity, including the 1968 seizure of the U.S.S. Pueblo in international waters and the recent apprehension of two U.S. journalists along the country's border with China. The journalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, were sentenced to 12 years' hard labor on trumped-up "spying" charges.

However, before our nation become further addicted to relying on UN sanctions to restrain the rogue regime, we should recall how the communist tyrants gained control of the nation in the first place. When the Chinese-backed North attempted to gain control of the entire Korean peninsula, the military operation to preserve freedom was entrusted to — and managed by — the UN. When U.S. General Douglas MacArthur pursued what would have been a certain military victory over the communist North, he was restrained by insane limitations imposed by the UN bureaucrats who were running the war. And when the brilliant general protested, he was fired by a leading UN apologist, President Harry Truman.

Instead of the clear-cut victory MacArthur wanted, the Korean War ended in stalemate, perpetuated all these years by the 1953 armistice that the Pyongyang regime has now rejected.

If we learned one lesson from the wasteful (particularly in lives) Korean conflict, it is that the UN is certainly not the entity to guarantee peace and freedom in the Korean peninsula. Instead, the world body excels at what it was designed to do — diminishing the sovereignty of free nations and subjecting them to international control.

Surrendering our sovereignty to the UN to punish dictators like Iraq's Saddam Hussein or North Korea's Kim Jong-il makes as much sense as hiring gangsters to protect our property from burglars. When the burglars have been scared off, who will protect us from the gangsters?

As the late Senator Robert Taft of Ohio once said: "The UN is a trap; let's go it alone!"

See our previous related article: Korean Tensions Signal More Power for the UN

Photo of UN Security Council: AP Images

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