The UN Security Council resolution on the DPRK’s missile tests went along predictable lines:
The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously on Saturday for a resolution requiring nations to prevent North Korea from getting dangerous weapons and demanding Pyongyang halt its ballistic missile program.
North Korea immediately “totally rejected” the resolution. Its U.N. Ambassador Pak Gil Yon told the council that Pyongyang’s missile development served “to keep the balance of force and preserving peace and stability in Northeast Asia.”
Agreement came after Japan and the United States bowed to a veto threat from China and dropped a reference to a provision in the U.N. Charter, usually used to impose mandatory sanctions. In turn, China and Russia accepted stronger language in the resolution than they had first proposed.
The resolution requires all U.N. member states “in accordance with their national legal authorities” to prevent imports and exports of any material or funds relating to the reclusive Communist nation’s missile programs or weapons of mass destruction.
It demands North Korea “suspend all activities related to its ballistic missile program,” and re-establish a moratorium on the launching of missiles.
The Nikkei report additionally mentions that North Korea has accused Japan of using the missile test issue as a point of departure for “internationalizing” the abductee issue.
Internally here in Japan, the spin is that the resolution was a good thing for Japan:
Early on 16 July, Minister of Foreign Affairs Taro Aso spoke to the Foreign Ministry press corps about the unanimous adoption of a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning the DPRK: “North Korea must see this as a decisive message from the international community. There is no change to the binding power [of the resolution].”
He’s referring to the compromise on Chapter 7 of the UN charter, the result of which was to water down commitments to sanctions against the DPRK. “There is more power in a unanimous vote” than in allowing Japan’s proposed tougher resolution to fail, said Aso.
On the morning of 16 July, Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe also made a public statement: “This nation sought ‘a resolution powerful enough to bind [member nations] to responses including sanctions,’ and [the version adopted] reflects that position; we were able to articulate the decisive will of the international community.” He also called for action on the abductee issue: “All surviving abductees should be repatriated immediately.”
So that’s that for now. Fingers have been duly wagged at Pyongyang, but the PRC and Russia haven’t committed even nominally to sticking it to the DPRK. And, as usual, for all the blather about the unified front presented by the international community, the real lesson for the five countries in Northeast Asia is quite the opposite. Each has been pointedly reminded yet again why it doesn’t trust any of the others–both in terms of motivation and in terms of the ability to assess danger accurately. At least no one appears poised to blow anyone else up in the foreseeable future, so, you know, well played overall.