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Use sanctions and talks to settle peninsula issue

Updated: 2016-04-26 06:59
(China Daily)

Use sanctions and talks to settle peninsula issue

DPRK leader Kim Jong Un watches the ballistic rocket launch drill of the Strategic Force of the Korean People's Army (KPA) at an unknown location, in this undated file photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on March 11, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]

Calling it "yet another serious violation" of its resolutions, the United Nations Security Council "strongly condemned" the latest test firing of a submarine-launched ballistic missile by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

But tough as it sounded, a verbal warning like this is unlikely to bring to a halt Pyongyang's nuclear-missile program.

Unless all stakeholders work in genuine solidarity and make the UN-authorized sanctions truly bite, there is little chance Pyongyang will change course. Previous warnings have always been a compromise due to the disagreements between and among stakeholding countries over the best approach to denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, and they have failed to stop Pyongyang from making progress in its nuclear-missile program.

Instead of heeding the latest warning, Pyongyang is likely to soon take another provocative step by conducting a fifth nuclear test. That is precisely how Pyongyang's nuclear-missile programs have grown from nothing to be a clear and present danger for the region.

Unfortunately, even today, some people continue to refuse to take seriously the threat Pyongyang's nuclear-missile program represents. Some dismiss what the DPRK has achieved technology-wise, believing it constitutes little threat. The latest missile, which reportedly flew only 19 miles, did not even qualify as a successful launch, they insist.

But while Pyongyang's rhetoric, which hailed the missile as a "dagger of destruction", may be overblown, there can be no denying it showed clear technological progress.

As US President Barack Obama said: "Although, more often than not, they fail in many of these tests, they gain knowledge each time."

It has been the rest of the world's collective underestimation and inaction regarding such minor advancements that has brought us to where we are today.

Since the latest missile test is in clear violation of multiple UN resolutions and since proven submarine-launched ballistic missile capability may raise the security threat of Pyongyang's nuclear pursuit to a whole new level, the UN Security Council should do everything in its capacity to make sure that does not happen.

That being said, sanctions by themselves will not solve the Korean Peninsula issue. Only through talks can all parties secure an appropriate settlement to the issue.

To blame each other for escalating tensions, as Pyongyang and Washington are doing now, has become a self-defeating cycle in attempts to peacefully resolve the issue.

In that sense, China's call for constructive efforts to facilitate an early return to the negotiation table while earnestly implementing sanctions should be heeded by all parties as only peace and stability of the peninsula conform to the interests of all.

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