Nuclear North Corea: the UN Security Council tries again

This sequence of events has been seen before: the Democratic People Republic of Korea detonates an atomic bomb; the UN Security Council expresses its outrage and issues strong-language warnings and resolutions of condemnation. The DPRK does it again and the UN Security Council goes troough the same motions. How many more times is this going to happen? 

On December 6, North Korea confirmed the testing of a hydrogen bomb in the Korean Peninsula. The act sparked an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council that same day and prior to the meeting, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed the press. Immediately, the Secretary-General condemned the nuclear testing stating that “this act is profoundly destabilizing for regional security and seriously undermines international non-proliferation efforts. I condemn it unequivocally". Mr. Ban added that this latest act of provocation was a direct violation of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty enacted 20 years ago to prevent the testing and use of all nuclear weapons. He stated that the new bomb testing is “deeply troubling,” and is “a grave contravention of the international norm against nuclear testing.”

The Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK) is the only country in the world that has tested nuclear weapons, since the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CBTBO) was signed. The regime has tested four nuclear bombs since 2006, and after each test, the Security Council has gathered to punish the nation with sanctions and to redefine the language of the treaty. Despite this, the DPRK continues to make and test nuclear weapons claiming, after this most recent event, to have tested a successful hydrogen bomb. Compared to the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War 2, a hydrogen bomb is much more powerful. After the last North Korean bomb testing, the Security Council has warned that serious action will be taken against the Asian nation in the event of another test.

Lassina Zerbo, the Executive Secretary of the CBTBO addressed the United Nations Press via telephone, stating that, at this time, the organization is unable, to confirm whether the one detonated by the DPRK was an atomic or hydrogen bomb because radio isotopes must be collected in order to confirm its makeup, and those samples have not been found or obtained yet.

La Voce asked Mr. Zerbo what he expected the Security Council to do as a reaction to this latest provocation, and Mr. Zerbo responded mentioning the use of stronger language in the new resolution to be drafted in response. He added that he hopes that there will be a time when this technology can be permanently banned and there will be no need for countries to pursue nuclear armament.

The Security Council convened for an emergency meeting, and afterwards, both the Ambassador from Uruguay, and the Ambassador from Japan addressed the press at the stakeout. The Ambassador from Uruguay and current President of the Security Council for the month of January, Elbio Roselli, said that “The members of the Security Council have previously expressed their determination to take ‘further significant measures’ in the event of another DPRK nuclear test, and in line with this commitment and the gravity of this violation, the members will begin to work immediately on such measures starting with the drafting of a new resolution.”

When the Ambassador from Japan, Motohide Yoshikawa, spoke, he highlighted that his country had a multitude of ideas on how to take strong and significant action against the DPRK. When La Voce asked him to share with the press at least one of these ideas, he declined citing the need to speak to his colleagues of the Security Council first. He assured the press that the strong action taken would work to maintain the credibility of the Council itself. The multiple violations of the Security Council resolutions 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), and 2094 (2013) show what little standing these body has with the DPRK, and the ambassador (as well as the entire Council) want to reestablish their power and credibility in the eyes of North Korea.

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