If new suffocating UN sanctions result in a humanitarian disaster, Moscow and Beijing will be as culpable as Washington.
Russia and China have gone along with increased UN sanctions against North Korea. The suffocating new measures ban virtually all North Korean exports, ensuring that the country is doomed to remain a basket case reliant on handouts forever. They also severely limit how much oil, crude and refined, the country can be supplied – this in a rugged, hilly country where even highly mechanized agriculture, which is now out of the question, could not produce enough food for its population. Mercifully the sanctions do not ban food imports, but the country is now reliant on them more than ever – reliant for its bare survival on the very powers which sanctioned it.
Russia and China have their own reasons for doing so. Neither wants North Korea in the nuclear club. This does not mean their actions are any less shortsighted, criminal and unfair. Moscow and Beijing both warn that the US is as much to blame for the current crisis as North Korea. Both propose a North Korean freeze on missile and nuclear tests, accompanied by the US's halting its large-scale military drills on North Korea's border. Yet though the US declines such a solution, only North Korea finds itself targeted by UN sanctions.
It is true that North Korea and the US are both provoking each other, but it is clear Pyongyang does so out of a position of weakness – as a way to maximize its deterrent capacity. It is a weak power that acts in a fearless way to warn off against regime change and invasion. Meanwhile, the US is pushing it into a corner – even rejecting all talks unless the North capitulates in advance – seemingly for no better reason than to be able to keep Seoul and Tokyo in line, and keep a heavy military presence on China’s and Russia’s borders.
Moreover, even if Moscow and Beijing believed measures against North Korea are warranted, it is unconscionable to introduce them in the form of UN sanctions. At the UN Security Council, the US has veto power. Once passed, such sanctions can never be lifted. The US — which demands nothing short of total capitulation without a single concession just as a precondition for “talks” — will never allow it.
In this way, Russia and China insanely place the future of the North Korean people in the hands of the cruel, pigheaded, and utterly remorseless American foreign policy makers. This is unconscionable. If North Koreans are, as a result, struck by a humanitarian disaster akin to that suffered by Iraq under UN sanctions in the 1990s, or indeed by North Korea itself from 1994 to 1998, Moscow and Beijing will be as culpable as Washington.
Source: Checkpoint Asia