A few weeks ago the United Nations Security Council imposed further sanctions on North Korea after it tested long range missiles and boasted of pursuing its nuclear weapon program. Yesterday, North Korea fired a host of short range missiles which are part of its ground to missile program. The reality is no one knows for certain what is happening in North Korea since lack of contacts with government officials or military leadership results in a vast array of guessing by so called “experts.” The reality is Western nations, and that includes the UN Security Council, lack leverage on the paranoid rulers of North Korea who spend their time inventing threats to their nation.
The only trump card remaining to the world lies in the hand of China. North Korea depends on Chinese economic assistance to maintain its society. China is trapped in a dilemma. It could bring down the regime of North Korea by halting further aid, but, in so doing, it might unleash the prospect of millions of people crossing over from North Korea as they flee starvation and chaos. Hopefully, there is an middle point at which China can impose sanctions that force North Korean change without resulting in chaos and anarchy. Th ball is in the court of China.