At least not one triggered by North Korea, after China remarkably joined in a unanimous UN Security Council resolution against Pyongyang’s most recent nuclear test:
A spokesman for the country’s foreign ministry today acknowledged for the first time that North Korea is developing a uranium enrichment programme and said it would be “impossible” to abandon its nuclear ambitions.
In a defiant statement, the spokesman said that “the whole amount of the newly extracted plutonium [in the country] will be weaponised” and that “more than one-third of the spent fuel rods has been reprocessed to date”.
The ministry said the country had successfully started a programme to enrich uranium for a light-water reactor.
The warning came a few hours after the security council unanimously passed a resolution banning all weapons exports from North Korea and the import of all but small arms.
North Korea described the sanctions as “yet another vile product of the US-led offensive of international pressure aimed at undermining … disarming DPRK and suffocating its economy”.
Unusually the resolution was unanimous, reflecting the extent of anger within the Chinese government over last month’s nuclear test. Normally it is difficult for the US, Britain and France to persuade China, and to a lesser extent Russia, to take a tough line against North Korea.
The US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, described the resolution as “unprecedented” and said the sanctions regime had “teeth that will bite”.
China strongly urged Pyongyang to promote denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula. China’s envoy, Zhang Yesui, said it showed the “firm opposition” of the international community to North Korea’s nuclear weapons ambitions.
Very interesting indeed, and it makes North Korea’s threats ring particularly hollow now. Despite the nature of the threat, these developments are a reflection that old fashioned diplomacy has not only made a comeback but that it works. Worth noting that this is happening whilst Susan Rice is the US’s ambassador to the UN. She after all is Obama’s foreign policy guru. Kim Jong Il (or whoever is operating in his name) won’t dare to risk a military confrontation, with China and Russia equally lined up against him. The problem may be far from resolved, but we’re really not in the realm of ‘Axis of Evil’ anymore, are we?