On Thursday the U.N. Security Council approved some of their most severe sanctions yet against the North Korean government and Kim Jong Un. Hours later, the North Koreans fired 6 unknown projectiles into the Sea off its east coast. More concerning, is that North Korean state media is now reporting that Kim Jong Un has also ordered their nuclear arsenal readied for a pre-emptive strike at a moments notice.
The U.N. sanctions include mandatory inspections of cargo leaving and entering North Korea by land, sea or air; a ban on all sales or transfers of small arms and light weapons to the North; and the expulsion of North Korean diplomats who engage in “illicit activities.”
Just before the U.N. sanctions were unanimously adopted, South Korea’s National Assembly passed a bill that would establish a center tasked with collecting, archiving and publishing information about human rights in North Korea. It is required to transfer that information to the Justice Ministry, a step parliamentary officials say would provide legal grounds to punish rights violators in North Korea when the two Koreas eventually reunify.
The sanctions appear to have the full backing of all parties involved, including Russia and China. When asked for comment about North Korea firing short-range projectiles in response to the sanctions, Russia’s ambassador Vitaly Churkin said:
“It means that they’re not drawing the proper conclusions yet.”
These missile “tests” are a common reaction from North Korea when new sanctions are passed – sort of how a child will throw a tantrum after their parents put them in time-out or send them to their room.
However, since Kim Jong Un has taken power tests have become more frequent and provocative, including a nuclear test in January in which the government claims they tested a hydrogen bomb. It doesn’t look like these tests will slow down either, which is bad news for a variety of reasons, including the fact that a future test could trigger a massive volcano to awaken and potentially cause utter devastation for a population of people already riddled with poverty and starvation.
Pyongyang resident Song Hyo Il had this to say:
“No kind of sanctions will ever work on us, because we’ve lived under U.S. sanctions for more than half a century. And in the future, we’re going to build a powerful and prosperous country here, relying on our own development.”
The Chinese government, along with the governments of Japan, South Korea and other neighboring nations will be watching this activation of the North’s nuclear arsenal in case Kim Jong Un decides to do the unthinkable and fire nuclear weapons at one of them.
With over 120,000 people held in work camps and an incredibly oppressive society unrivaled on the world stage, North Korea has been backed in a diplomatic corner and is liable to lash out in a completely unhinged manner.
Will North Korea actually launch a nuclear attack? Sound off in the comments below!