After North Korea’s second missile launch across the Japanese islands, the world is left wondering what measures or actions are likely to be taken by the major world players. With continued aggression and a seemingly implacable will to cause international tension, Kim Jong Un has made the world’s leaders pay attention, but now that they are all looking, what will they actually do?
The missile launch came after a stunning string of threats issued by the Kim Regime’s KNCA news agency. The diatribe called for the destruction of both the U.S. and Japan:
“The army and people of the DPRK are unanimously demanding that the Yankees, chief culprit in cooking up the ‘sanctions resolution`, be beaten to death as a stick is fit for a rabid dog. There’s limit to patience. Now is the time to annihilate the U.S. imperialist aggressors. Let’s reduce the U.S. mainland into ashes and darkness. Let’s vent our spite with mobilization of all retaliation means which have been prepared till now. These are voices of the Korean army and people.”
And for Japan, the rant was far more personal:
“The behaviors of Japs, sworn enemy of the Korean nation, are enraging us. The wicked Japs should not be pardoned… A telling blow should be dealt to them who have not yet come to senses after the launch of our ICBM over the Japanese archipelago. The four islands of the archipelago should be sunken into the sea by the nuclear bomb of Juche. Japan is no longer needed to exist near us.”
This was in response to the sanctions imposed by the United Nation’s National Security Council (drafted by the U.S.) which, among other things, seeks to cap oil imports, and ban textile exports and overseas labor contracts.
The reactions from the rest of the world varied from the conciliatory to the aggravated.
After the initial nuclear bomb test, South Korea intimated that it would be willing to reinstate aid packages to North Korea in the form of (around) 8 million dollars to be used for health and childhood programs. They said:
“The government’s basic stance is that humanitarian assistance to those who are vulnerable in North Korea should be continued regardless of political considerations,” and “Seoul plans to decide the details of the aid and its timing after taking into account the inter-Korean situation.”
When the second missile was launched, they responded with a rapid live-fire drill while the missile was still in flight, demonstrating that an attack would lead to mutually assured destruction.
Japan’s reaction was stern, yet measured. After the nuclear test, Japan’s lead spokesman Yoshihide Suga, said the threats were “extremely provocative and egregious,” and that “It is something that markedly heightens regional tension and is absolutely unacceptable.” But then came the second missile. This time, Prime Minister Abe Shinzo spoke out. He said:
“The UN resolution showed the international community’s unified strong will for a peaceful solution. But despite that, North Korea has again carried out this outrageous conduct. It is absolutely unacceptable. We request an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council. Global peace is threatened by North Korea’s dangerous provocations.”
“If North Korea continues to walk this road, there will be no bright future. We need to get North Korea to understand that.”
Japan’s response is calm and measured, yet makes the very clear point that it is NOT a lone nation like North Korea, and that they have other nations (through the U.N.) who are willing to take measures to deal with the dictatorship.
The U.S. response came through the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson:
“North Korea’s provocative missile launch represents the second time the people of Japan, a treaty ally of the United States, have been directly threatened in recent weeks. These continued provocations only deepen North Korea’s diplomatic and economic isolation.”
“United Nations security council resolutions, including the most recent unanimous sanctions resolution, represent the floor, not the ceiling, of the actions we should take. We call on all nations to take new measures against the Kim regime.”
“China supplies North Korea with most of its oil. Russia is the largest employer of North Korean forced labor. China and Russia must indicate their intolerance for these reckless missile launches by taking direct actions of their own.”
Most noticeable is that Tillerson calls on both China and Russia to step in and control their “partner,” signifying that not only does the U.S expect a diplomatic solution; but that it will hold other nations accountable for North Koreas actions if they continue their support.
Quite what North Korea is planning next is unknown, but Kim has the world’s attention, what he does with it should be of concern to all nations.