Sanctions on North Korea?

The U. S. has altered its draft sanctions proposal from a Chapter 7 to a Chapter 6 proposal:

UNITED NATIONS – The United States dropped the possibility of using force against

North Korea over the regime’s purported nuclear test, a concession to Russia and China in the hope of seeing a U.N. Security Council resolution on the standoff passed by Friday.

The presidents of China and South Korea — the North’s main sources of trade and aid — met in Beijing and discussed the proposed resolution, but it was unclear what the meeting had achieved.

Song Min-soon, Korean President Roh Moo-hyun’s security adviser, said the two leaders agreed to “support appropriate sanctions that are necessary for realizing denuclearization of the Korean peninsula” but did not discuss specifics.

The concern has always been that Russia and China would oppose any sanction which actually had some chance of bringing about a change in the DPRK’s behavior.

I’ve always found both Russia and China’s positions with respect to North Korea puzzling unless they’re being purely oppositional. I understand China’s concerns about the aftermath of a collapse of the Kim Family Regime. I have complete confidence in China’s ability to deal with refugees fleeing across their border.

That the KFR will collapse is beyond question. The open question is the circumstances of the collapse and it seems to me that cooperating in a sanctions regime against the KFR gives China a greater capability for managing the situation than merely letting circumstances take their course.

3 comments… add one
  • That’s just it, I don’t think China wants to deal with the aftermath of the collapse. Already they have troubling dealing with the trickle of refugees that sneak accross the border. They are afraid that a large influx will likely destabilize the border regions and create a bigger headache for China proper. In addition, I’m not entirely sure they are ready to accept a unified democratic Korea that would in turn become a catalyst for political change within China. Plus, as I said in my own post on this subject, China will not want to be seen as the only player in the region abandoning its long time ally, and as such will likely need more of an incentive to do so, such as a new security framework for East Asia a la NATO.

  • There are an enormous number of reasons that allowing the KFR to collapse is in China’s interest. Regardless of any dreams to the contrary the collapse of the regime is inevitable. Better to manage the collapse that just to have it happen. North Korea just going it’s merry way over China’s opposition is a loss of face to China. We’re not the only ones who have something to lose if North Korea becomes the Toys ‘R Us of nuclear weapons: China has non-state actor enemies of its own. And so on.

    I completely agree with you that China needs additional incentives, positive and negative. The greatest incentive, IMO, is that, if China is to have a status in the world commensurate with its growing economic power (not to mention its size), it should start behaving responsibly and promoting security other than its own.

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