UN chief Antonio Guterres has called for a political solution to the current situation on the Korean peninsula, which has worsened in recent months in the wake of a series of ballistic missile and nuclear tests by Pyongyang. The UN Security Council on Monday unanimously passed a US-drafted resolution that imposes strongest sanctions ever on North Korea, including restricting its oil imports and banning textile exports, to curb the reclusive nation’s nuclear programme. “The solution can only be political. Military action could cause devastation on a scale that would take generations to overcome,” Guterres said. Noting that nuclear and missile tests by the North Korea have created great instability and tension on the Korean peninsula, throughout the region and beyond, the UN Secretary- General said unity in the Security Council is critical.
The unanimous adoption of a new resolution by the Security Council sends a clear message that North Korea must comply fully with its international obligations, he said and called on all member states to ensure the full implementation of this and other relevant Security Council resolutions. “But Security Council unity also creates an opportunity for diplomatic engagement – an opportunity that must be seized,” Guterres said. Meanwhile, Nicholas Burns, a former top American diplomat said that the new sanctions imposed by UN Security Council on North Korea are not enough. “The sanctions are a step forward, but they are not significant enough. It is disappointing that Russia and China will not agree to tougher sanctions because that is what is required,” he said.
“We are in a new and dangerous phase of the crisis following the apparent hydrogen bomb test and also the ballistic missile firing by North Korea over Hokkaido,” Burns said. “The world community has got to take stronger actions against North Korea to convince the North Koreans to freeze their nuclear program and agree to negotiations to try to diminish this crisis,” he said. China was hesitating in deepening its own leverage and coercion against North Korea. “It may be that China worries that a dissolution of the North Korean regime could lead to a flow of North Korean refugees into China,” Burns said. “It is certainly true that the Chinese worry that any kind of crisis that could weaken or destroy North Korea and could lead to the unification of the Korean Peninsula with its capital in Seoul—a country that is aligned with the United States—is not in China’s interests,” he said.