A day after the United Nations slapped the harshest sanctions yet against North Korea, dictator Kim Jong Un has reportedly ordered his military to ready the nation’s nuclear weapons for use.
“The only way for defending the sovereignty of our nation and its right to existence under the present extreme situation is to bolster up nuclear force both in quality and quantity,” said a statement from the country’s state news agency.
Saber-rattling has become a way of life for the dictatorship, but the U.S. and South Korea are growing increasingly worried that the madman in charge could get desperate enough to launch a preemptive attack. The North Korean economy is in shambles, the citizens are starving, and Kim Jong Un is likely concerned about an interior revolution that would depose him. Experts say that his constant threats are designed to promote national unity, a propaganda strategy that’s all the more effective since his subjects have virtually no contact with the outside world.
In response to previous nuclear tests, the UN Security Council announced sanctions on Wednesday that would put all North Korean cargo ships and aircraft under inspections before leaving or entering the country. Other sanctions are intended to prevent North Korea from buying weapons of any kind.
But without the cooperation of China, which continues to bail North Korea out of what would otherwise be an unsustainable economy, international sanctions only carry so much weight. China is deeply interested in preserving the dictatorship, since a unified and U.S.-allied Korea would pose a substantial threat to their national security. Or at least, that’s what they believe.
“No kind of sanctions will ever work on us, because we’ve lived under U.S. sanctions for more than half a century,” one Pyongyang resident boasted. “And in the future, we’re going to build a powerful and prosperous country here, relying on our own development.”
Yeah, you’re not. But as long as China is propping the regime up, Kim Jong Un will be free to pursue his dangerous military policies that put much of the world in jeopardy. If this or any future administration wants to get serious about stopping this threat, we are going to have to consider adopting sanctions that target China as well as their client state. It doesn’t take much imagination to see how that could go wrong, but the alternative – waiting and hoping – could lead to a disaster of unprecedented proportions.