US urges "strongest possible measures" against North Korea at UN
North Korea's recent Hydrogen-bomb test sent tremors of fear and insecurity rippling through the world. The US envoy to the UN, Nikki Haley has called on the UN Security Council (UNSC) to take the "strongest possible measures" against Pyongyang. The US is expected to circulate a draft resolution on the matter by Monday. How could the UNSC respond to North Korea's unruly behavior?
On September 3, North Korea claimed it had successfully tested a missile-ready hydrogen bomb which is several times more powerful than an atomic bomb. The development came hours after an earth tremor was detected by seismologists, 9.8 times more powerful than the one recorded during the North's fifth nuclear test. Japan had condemned the test while South Korea responded with live-fire drills.
North Korea has been running an ambitious nuclear program since the 1950s despite performing poorly on several socio-economic indicators. It has conducted five nuclear tests from 2006-16. Its leadership's spontaneous behavior and threatening rhetoric, frequently directed at the US, has created an atmosphere of insecurity.
Speaking to the UNSC, Haley argued that a diplomatic resolution to the North Korea crisis wouldn't be possible without "the strongest possible measures." "War is never something the US wants. We don't want it now but our patience is not unlimited," she added. Haley further noted that countries that do business with North Korea will be viewed as those aiding its "dangerous nuclear ambitions."
Haley did not delve into additional details on what the proposed strong diplomatic measures would entail. However, diplomats opine that an oil embargo would have a crippling effect. These measures could also include a ban on Pyongyang's national airline and asset freezes.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke to Trump over the phone, agreeing with him on the need for a tougher response to the North. She said she would seek tighter EU sanctions on Pyongyang. Stating that "Twitter won't be an adequate instrument," Swiss President Doris Leuthard offered her country's mediatorship. Meanwhile, Japan is reportedly planning a mass evacuation if a war breaks out.
Numerous trade and economic sanctions have been imposed by those including the UN and the US since 2006. They haven't deterred North Korea from testing. China suspended coal imports from Pyongyang in February 2017. President Trump had also threatened determined action against Pyongyang, after recent ICBM tests. The UNSC introduced a "stringent set of fresh sanctions" against Pyongyang in August 2017, to little avail.