Pyongyang must listen to UNSCThe UN Security Council on Monday unanimously adopted a presidential statement denouncing North Korea’s launch of the Unha-3 rocket, a de facto long-range missile. The stern statement came just three days after Pyongyang pushed ahead with the launch in violation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1874, which strictly bans the North from launching any long-range missiles. Such a swift move by the Security Council demonstrates the deep concerns of the international community about the North’s unceasing threat to the security of the world. The presidential statement, in particular, mentioned that the United Nations will take corresponding action if Pyongyang dares to launch another long-distance missile or conduct a nuclear test once again.
Strictly speaking, the decision by the UN council is not binding in terms of international law. Yet it contains clauses which mandate reinforced sanctions against the North as a result of the earlier Security Council Resolutions 1718 and 1874. Therefore, the statement is not much different from a new resolution in the UN. If Pyongyang attempts to carry out another provocation, the UN council will surely take tougher action.
The international community has been carefully weighing the possibility of change in the recalcitrant regime after watching the power succession to Kim Jong-un after Kim Jong-il’s death last December. The latest rocket launch, however, shattered our expectations again. The North under the reign of Kim Jong-il was the archetype of a failed state - where only a small group lives a comfortable life while ordinary citizens suffer from chronic malnutrition for decades - or a rogue state which endlessly threatens world peace when the need arises. The rocket launch brings worries that the new heir Kim Jong-un will repeat what his father and grandfather did in the past. In that sense, the presidential statement serves as a strong urge to Pyongyang to become a mature member of the international community as soon as possible.
Pyongyang conducted nuclear tests after launching a long-range missile in 2006 and 2009. It is expected to do the same this time. As the UN council’s presidential statement warns clearly, its third nuclear test will no doubt invite an immediate reaction from the council. We urge Pyongyang to not test the resolute will of the Security Council. Pyongyang should be aware that an additional provocation can lead to collapse of the reclusive regime. It would be better off finding a path that ensures its survival.