The Security Council’s emergency meeting on Monday put off taking action against North Korea for its defiant hydrogen bomb test, unable to get China and Russia on board.
At the end of the hurriedly convened meeting on an official UN holiday, United States Permanent Representative Nikki Haley said that negotiations would be held on a draft resolution that is being circulated to try to reach a consensus on action against Pyongyang.
“Enough is enough,” she said, urging stringent international action against the “rogue regime”. “The time for half measures is over,” she added.
“North Korea is begging for a war,” she said, but added that the US did not want one but “will defend its territory.”
China’s Permanent Representative Liu Jieyi again brought up the joint proposal with Russia for the US and South Korea to stop military exercises in return for North Korea suspending its nuclear programme.
Haley described the proposal as “freeze for freeze” and called it insulting. “North Korea has slapped everyone in the face,” she added.
“Time for diplomacy is over,” she said.
She said that Washington will look at every country that does business with Pyongyang as aiding its enemy.
But in reality it it would be difficult for the US to take this approach to the logical end because China is its largest trading partner with a total trade of $578.6 billion last year.
Although everyone of the members of the Security Council, who spoke on Monday urged strict action against North Korea, which tested hydrogen bomb on Sunday and sent a missile over Japan last week, any action would depend on China and, to a lesser extent, on Russia.
Russia’s Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia called for an immediate return to dialogue. Only political and diplomatic means could led to a solution, he said and suggested mediation by Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
The Security Council earlier last month imposed its strongest sanctions yet seeking to block North Korea’s exports of coal, iron, iron ore, seafood and lead, and prohibit countries from hiring any more of that country’s citizens.
(Arul Louis can be reached at [email protected])