UN Sanctions 'Not the Answer' to Cheonan Sinking

      April 28, 2010 12:21

      Some South Korean government officials are skeptical that it would do much good to ask the UN Security Council to impose sanctions against North Korea if it is found that the North was behind the sinking of the Navy corvette Cheonan on March 26. They say since the North is already under harsh UNSC sanctions over its two nuclear tests, any further steps would have a negligible impact.

      "Many people consider UNSC sanctions a panacea if the North is found to have been behind the Cheonan's sinking. But I can't agree," a senior government official said. "At the moment, we should keep all military and non-military options on the table, including UNSC sanctions."

      "The North is already under harsh sanctions for its first and second nuclear tests under UNSC Resolutions 1718 and 1874," the official said. "Imposing any additional sanctions would be like adding one month to a life sentence."

      Resolution 1874, which was adopted in June last year, mandates arms embargo, inspection of cargo, and financial sanctions. It bans all weapons exports and most imports, with the exception to small arms, light weapons and related materials. It also instructs member states not to provide any financial assistance to the North except for humanitarian aid as well as freezing assets related to its nuclear program.

      North Korea has complained of the sanctions, saying it will not return to six-party nuclear disarmament talks unless they are lifted, but it still wasted W6 billion (US$1=W1,110) on fireworks to celebrate nation founder Kim Il-sung's birthday. That suggests there is only so much sanctions can achieve.

      The atmosphere is also changing within the Foreign Ministry. Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan on April 18 said, "The UNSC will come to our mind first if the North is found to have been behind the shipwreck." But on April 20 he said Seoul should "consider all options."

      A senior ministry official recalled that when a North Korean submarine infiltrated waters near Gangneung in the East Sea in 1996, the government asked the UN to adopt a resolution against the North and the U.S. put on a show of military force by sending fighter jets. "Diplomatic measures will gain strength when we put all options on the table," he said.

      • Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com
      Previous Next
      All Headlines Back to Top