North Korea is now sawing off the branch on which the regime is sitting as the Trump administration moves to sideline the United Nations Security Council in its further actions concerning North Korea.
From now onwards it will handle the matter with its allies, especially compelling China to take real action to ensure that North Korea ends nuclear tests and ballistic missiles programs now.
After the North Korean regime tested an intercontinental ballistic missile on Friday, Trump administration officials said that time for talk was over and the United States was going to take a new approach on North Korea.
US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley said that Washington will not seek UN Security Council action following the hermit state’s latest missile test, which effectively means that Washington is in a state of as yet undeclared war with Pyongyang, to ensure that it ends its nuclear and missile test once and for all.
It means that China will be under pressure to choose between the US and its tiny communist ally without whom rulers in Pyongyang can’t stick to belligerent policies.
In what is now appearing to be a suicidal program, North Korea has been so successful in its missile tests in particular, such that it now boasts that its ICBM devices can hit mainland United States, including Alaska and Chicago, apart from Hawaii.
This situation has radically altered diplomacy around North Korea in the United Nations Security Council from human rights atrocities internally and belligerent or provocative actions against the neighboring state of South Korea and Japan to a wholly different issue.
It is the fact that the Pyongyang regime now poses a direct nuclear threat to the United States, despite impressions that its ICBM device still faced technical hurdles before it is credible.
As the North Korean authorities have made such tremendous progress in nuclear and missile tests in the past four months or so, stopping the program is no longer a matter of reaching such commitment but of disabling the regime economically.
The cornerstone of its capacities is China, as it still conducts intense commercial exchanges with the hermit state, in which case the tests have finally pushed the Trump administration to seek not consensus with China through the UN Security Council but confronting it on the issue.
It means that the rulers in Beijing will have to throw into the dustbin their belligerent ally in Pyongyang meant to create problems for the United States so that it is tied down and has to agree with China at least on that issue, hindering its abilities in other strategic interests.
Certain quarters in the United States remained unconvinced of the Trump administration resolve on the issue. After the UN ambassador said that the North Korean crisis cannot be solved through diplomatic channels in the Security Council, some quarters ridiculed that position.
Some liberal analysts said Haley had publicly undermined the Security Council, while John Delury of Yonsei University in South Korea said she makes herself irrelevant.
Still the UN ambassador has explained quite clearly what was involved, and evidently it isn’t through the UN Security Council as in that roundtable each country takes the position that best suits its interests. Haley pointed to China, saying “Beijing must decide if it is finally willing to take this vital step of challenging Pyongyang,” on the basis of a CNN write up. It also noted that the envoy’s comments echoed the position expressed by President Donald Trump, that “he was very disappointed with China” on that question.
In his usual manner the president took to social media to express his feelings, declaring that “our foolish past leaders have allowed (China) to make hundreds of billions of shillings a year in trade (with the US), yet they do NOTHING for us (concerning) North Korea, just talk” which means that this stance will have to end.
It implies that the US will be taking serious economic sanctions against China to force its hand on Pyongyang, as China can’t afford to destabilize its economy. Open economic conflict with the US would do just that, in ways that Russia, more endowed in natural resources suffers US sanctions.
The swipe at former president Barack Obama was sufficient for twitter audience needs but it will have to be backed by as yet uncharted waters about how the US puts China in a box on North Korea, at the same time as tensions with Russia were escalating.
Russia has expelled more than 700 US embassy staff in Moscow and restricted access to embassy premises, which is little short of a declaration of war.
Adding a dispute with China that is intense enough to push China to act on North Korea and lose face as a communist regime and indeed as a big power, fiercely independent in its diplomatic action, won’t be easy.
There was a small ingredient in the situation which could stall decisions in Washington, to avoid hurting China ties while trade ties with Russia slumber, and the Middle East remains uncertain with the stand off about Qatar.
The latest ICBM device by North Korea did not pose a credible threat as yet as it failed the reentry into the earth’s atmosphere after being released by the delivery vehicle in space, disintegrating well before reaching the sea, in place of a ground target. Still North Korean technologists could work on the issue rapidly on the basis of their recent progress chiefly in missile tests, analysts affirm.
Again, US air defence systems in Alaska successfully tested the disabling of a missile fired from the sea and aimed at the US Mainland, implying a credible threat is far off yet.