The United Nations Security Council has met to debate US proposals on further sanctions against North Korea. Although the US adopted a serious tone, it nevertheless is symptomatic of a climb-down from last week’s overt military threats.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson used harsh language to describe the American position saying,
“The policy of strategic patience is over, additional patience will only lead to a nuclear North Korea”.
This is something of an odd statement because North Korea is all ready a nuclear power. The entire issue is over further ballistic missile tests and possible nuclear tests.
Tillerson went on to say that,
“Business as usual is not an option. All options for responding to future provocation must remain on the table”.
Tillerson reiterated that this includes a military option although he stated that the US prefers a diplomatic solution.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov urged restraint from both sides saying that “reckless muscle flexing” has made the region far more dangerous. Although Gatilov did not name a country, it was clear that he was referring to the US.
He also warned that ‘one mis-step- could lead to disaster and said that sanctions must not become a goal in itself.
Gatilov ended his statement reminding his audience of fellow Foreign Minister that,
“A poor peace is better than a good row”.
It is doubtful that these wise words of caution will penetrate the American political psyche.