While there are rare instances of the UN Security Council acting in a way that welcomed the parties to a conflict to explain their views to the members of the Security Council so that the Security Council could be helpful toward a resolution, there are a number of examples of the Security Council acting in a way that intensifies or causes a conflict to become more serious. This is in direct contrast to the obligation of the Security Council according to the UN Charter. Such a failure on the part of the Security Council is particularly demonstrated by the treatment accorded the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) by the Security Council, with the exception of the two examples described in the article, “Two Precedents for UN Security Council Action to Calm Tension in the Korean Peninsula.”(1)
The DPRK has complained about the hostile acts of the US toward it.(2) Instead of the Security Council inviting the DPRK to explain its complaint, the Security Council has allowed the US to compile a set of punishments of the DPRK in the form of a proposed new security council resolution tabled on March 5. The resolution is to be voted on on Thursday, March 7.
To vote on such a resolution with no consideration of the DPRK view of the problem that exists is a serious abuse of the obligations of the Security Council under the UN Charter. An example of the illegitimacy and duplicity of action taken by the US against the DPRK is described in the article, “Behind the Blacklisting of Banco Delta Asia: Is the policy aimed at targeting China as well as North Korea?”(3)
The DPRK has made a convincing case that there is a long pattern of abuse by the US against its country and people and that it needs a means to defend itself.
For the Security Council to pass new sanctions to support the US pattern of abuse against the DPRK is an act that demonstrates the problem of the nature and functioning of the UN Security Council.
The first nuclear explosion by the DPRK was in response to the US government sanctions against the Banco Delta Asia, a bank in Macau, China, which had $25 million of DPRK funds. The US sanctions against this bank were taken with no proof ever provided of any actual abuse by the bank. To implement these sanctions the US government used a provision of the US Patriot Act, Section 311. This section of the Patriot Act was inserted into the Act by the then Senator John Kerry. The US government abuse of the DPRK by this action was to interfere with the DPRK access to the use of the international banking system. The DPRK made many efforts to have this action of the US reversed via negotiation. It was only by carrying out its first nuclear test that the DPRK was able to get help via the Six Party Talks to have these sanctions reversed. And that was a difficult process taking multiple efforts on the part of Christopher Hill and others in the US State Department but also other countries as part of the Six Party Talks. (At that point while the US Treasury Department was enforcing the Banco Delta Asia sanctions, the US State Department was trying to have them removed.) An investigation into why the DPRK felt it needed a nuclear deterrent is critical if there is to be any solution to the current conflict between the US and the DPRK.
This short article is intended as an alert that the current resolution being considered at the Security Council demonstrates a serious lack of understanding of the background of the role played by financial sanctions in fomenting this conflict in the past.
1.”Two Precedents for UN Security Council Action to Calm Tension in the Korean Peninsula.”
2. “DPRK Terms U.S. Hostile Policy Main Obstacle in Resolving Nuclear Issue”, Memorandum by the Foreign Ministry of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, August. 31, 2012. Also submitted by the DPRK to the Security Council to be listed as an official UN document.
3. “Behind the Blacklisting of Banco Delta Asia: Is the policy aimed at targeting China as well as North Korea?”
“What Should be the Role of the UN Regarding the Hostile US Policy toward North Korea?”