The United Nations has voted in favour of sanctions against North Korea in a rare moment of unity. The sanctions will limit North Korea’s exports which currently stand at a modest (by international standards) $3 billion per annum.
According to Sputnik,
“The US-led bill prevents DPRK commodities exports of coal, iron, lead and other materials, including seafood. The new US-led UNSC sanctions bill also also prevents adding to the current number of North Korean laborers working abroad, as well as banning new bilateral business ventures — and new investment schemes — with Pyongyang.
The UNSC resolution, adopted unanimously, now includes nine North Koreans — as well as four business entities — to the sanction blacklist, cited by Reuters, including the primary foreign exchange bank in the DPRK; making them subject to a global asset freeze and ban on travel”.
The position of China and Russia remains clear and consistent even though some pundits are surprised that both countries voted in favour of the resolution.
The reality is that China and Russia, like much of the world seeks genuine peace on the Korean peninsula. Like what the US says publicly, Russia and China want the DPRK (North Korea) to cease its missile tests, but unlike the United States, South Korea and Japan, Russia and China are equally adamant that the US cease its own missile tests that it conducts from South Korean territory.
China and Russia are also opposed to a foreign led war for regime change against Pyongyang which could have incredibly violent and possibly nuclear repercussions which could affect all of North Korea’s neighbours including China and Russia.
Vasily Nebenzya, Russia’s Ambassador to the United Nations stated the following regarding America’s aggressive missile tests in South Korea,
“Progress toward denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula will be difficult so long as North Korea perceives a direct threat to its own security for that is how the North Koreans view the military buildup in the region.
Another destabilising factor in the region is the scaling up in Korea of the THAAD – the US anti-missile defence elements. We have repeatedly noted that … this also undermines the overall military balance in the region and calls into question the security of neighbouring states”.
Nebenzya further warned that any military activities carried out against North Korea would result in a catastrophe for the region which of course includes Russia.
The biggest question now is, will the US remain content to sit below the 38th parallel which itself is a perpetually provocative stance against both China and Russia as it always has been, or will the US use the sanctions resolution to justify a unilateral military strike against North Korea which in any case would still be unlawful according to the terms of the current resolution?