Subtle subterfuge

WITH the eyes of the world shifting towards Beirut, it may seem Pyongyang has got a breather. And the reclusive, totalitarian state of North Korea anxiously awaits such developments as those happening in the forever-tumultuous Middle East.

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Published: Tue 18 Jul 2006, 9:54 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 5:10 PM

Deviously, trying all subterfuges to hoodwink the world on its nuclear programme, the North has always banked on other issues of the world trying to grab more attention. First, it was Iraq, then Iran, and now Lebanon has succeeded in baling it out of a sticky situation. Well, almost!

Washington has not let go of Pyongyang, nor will it so easily, yet it is extremely difficult — if not impossible — to sail in two boats at the same time. If the US has its hands full and so do its allies in the Mideast, then the Far East seems a far cry. But not really, because the earth is round and a North Korean missile could be capable of reaching Alaska.

The UN did pass a resolution against North Korea on Saturday, condemning the nuclear tests. But it was a milder document than Japan’s original draft, which backed up UN demands with the threat of force.

Japan is reportedly considering further sanctions against North Korea, after Pyongyang denounced a UN resolution criticising its recent missile tests. Tokyo may ban cash remittances and freeze assets held by North Korea in Japan, having already imposed limited sanctions. Japan, one of North Korea’s most vehement critics, plans to rope in other countries to take further measures against the recalcitrant state.

The UN resolution was not without drama. While US and Japan wanted stronger measures, Russia and China threatened to veto the resolution in its original from. But finally, the milder censure too irked North Korea whose ambassador to UN rejected the resolution, describing it as a product of ‘hostile American policy’.

Clearly, Pyongyang feels it can get away with anything, because it sees before it a hopelessly divided world with ambiguous stands on crucial issues of the world like nuclearisation and terrorism. It is time for the world powers to sit up and take note, sink their differences, and condemn North Korea in one voice. It nuclear adventurism should not be overlooked, and ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ will only embolden Pyongyang.

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