Now that North Korea has defiantly violated United Nations sanctions by launching a satellite into orbit, the international community must immediately impose penalties on any nation that engages in business with Pyongyang.
Quick action in imposing severe sanctions is imperative. North Korea appears to have developed a handful of nuclear weapons and now has a rocket that can deliver one to a distant target. Its leadership is bent on proliferating nuclear weapons to forces hostile to Western interests. They tried to help Syria, beforeIsrael intervened, and are helping Iran develop weapons and the rockets to deliver them.
A rocket that takes a week to prepare isn’t much of a threat — yet — but it demands a stern international response, one that will determine the path for Iran in the coming year.
North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un, like his dictator father and grandfather before him, is empowered thanks to protection by Beijing, which staunchly defends its Stalinist neighbor and skirts international sanctions by shipping trainloads of goods across their common border.
China agreed to Security Council condemnation of North Korea for the satellite launch, but whether it will back more concrete action remains unclear. Regardless, the United States and its allies must strangle North Korea’s finances by sanctioning any organization that does business with or launders money for Pyongyang, as does Macau, the Chinese banking capital that serves as a conduit for North Korea’s international finances.
Beijing would have to finally decide whether its interests lie with the international community orPyongyang and its equally destabilizing ally, Iran.
Such sanctions would stand as a warning to other rogue states with regionally destabilizing nuclear ambitions.
with 2013 shaping up as a defining year in the international standoff with Iran over its nuclear program, it’s important to use every possible tool to compel Tehran to renounce its drive for atomic weapons.
As with North Korea, truly meaningful sanctions on Iran may well be the last peaceful tool in the international community’s diplomatic arsenal.