The United Nations (UN) Security Council on Wednesday adopted a new resolution to impose a set of harsh sanctions on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to punish the country’s latest nuclear test and satellite launch.
The 15 members of the Council unanimously endorsed the resolution that broadens the scope of the financial sanctions and the scope of the arms embargo against the DPRK.
As a major player promoting peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, China has its own reasons to cast a yes vote on the resolution.
PROPER RESPONSE TO DPRK’S PROVOCATIONS
By repeatedly conducting nuclear tests or using banned long-range missile technology, the DPRK has violated relevant UN resolutions and poses a grave challenge to the global non-proliferation system.
Its actions have also breached multiple bilateral or multilateral agreements it reached with relevant parties and made the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue increasingly complicated.
China sees it necessary for the UN to properly respond to DPRK’s provocations, so as to thwart the country’s further pursuit of nuclear capabilities.
The approval of the tough sanctions on Wednesday was intended to send a clear message to the DPRK. That is, Pyongyang may have to pay a heavy price for undermining the denuclearization process on the Korean Peninsula, said Li Jun, director of the Korean Peninsula Research Center at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR).
The new UN resolution bans all exports from the DPRK, including coal, iron, iron ore, gold, titanium ore, vanadium ore and rare earth metals, and also prohibits the supply to the DPRK of all types of aviation fuel, including rocket fuel.
The new punitive measures will make it more difficult for the DPRK to push forward its nuclear programs, said Yu Tiejun, vice president of the Institute of International and Strategic Studies in Peking University.
NOT TARGETING CIVILIANS
China voted yes also because the new UN resolution focuses on deterring the DPRK from developing nuclear weapons or missile technologies, and is not intended to “have adverse humanitarian consequences for the civilian population of the DPRK.”
The new resolution mainly targets the DPRK’s military actions, especially those involving nuclear weapons and the development of missile technologies, noted Zheng Jiyong, a researcher with the Institute of International Studies at Fudan University.
The new resolution is a response to the DPRK’s wrongful actions and relevant parties should not take the opportunity to push the country toward a “collapse scenario,” Zheng added.
DIALOGUE AS ONLY VIABLE APPROACH
By saying yes to the new UN resolution, China also aims to change the dynamics regarding the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula and breathe life into the long-stalled six-party talks, a multilateral mechanism widely seen as a practical means to realize denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula.
China has repeatedly urged parties related to the issue not to abandon efforts to revive the six-party talks.
China has recently proposed a “parallel-track approach” to address the issue, namely, working to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula and replace the Korean armistice with a peace agreement at the same time.
While highlighting the overriding goal to denuclearize the peninsula, the approach also addresses the concerns of various parties, experts say.