Lavrov asks to “cool down the hotheads” at the United Nations. Meanwhile, Tillerson doesn’t rule out Military potential in dealing with DPRK.
The UN Security Council met yesterday for a high-level exchange of remarks regarding nonproliferation of nuclear weapons. The idea of nonproliferation is simple: cease the spread of nuclear weapons, fissionable material, and weapons-applicable nuclear technology and information to nations not recognized as “Nuclear Weapon States” by the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Though the agenda did not call for it, the DPRK was subject to a number of specific remarks, particularly from representatives from The Republic of Korea (South Korea) and The United States, as the country hasn’t observed any of the resolutions made by the United Nations Security Council.
United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson noted the tendency of terrorism to be the most concerning and localized risk today, but the world nears “complacency” in terms of preparation for a nuclear attack due to its apparent subjecting to pop culture fodder and vintage character. He’s right: while progress at the United Nations in terms of the number of treaties relating to nuclear concern has been well-received and frequently paraded for many years, non-signatories can technically continue their nuclear ambitions, regardless of the treaties and agreements that might exist. Tillerson noted: “Acquiring nuclear weapons does not gain anyone prestige or added respect” and that the current nuclear powers must commit to keeping nuclear weapons out of the hands of “irresponsible” countries.
Tillerson very aggressively praised Kazakstan and Ukraine for their respective decisions to cease their maintenance of nuclear weapons. Nations that seek or continue to support nuclear programs propose that their desire is hinged on the search for security but, according to Tillerson, it’s actually a coercing mechanism and unfair approach. It is threatening to neighboring states. There’s no question that nuclear weapons are a global, transnational concern.
DPRK joined the nonproliferation agreement but exited in 2003, making major movements in terms of nuclear proliferation, including countless announced and unannounced nuclear tests. Because of that exit, Tillerson indicated that “North Korea has shunned the international community.”
Military Intervention in DPRK
Regarding DPRK specifically, Tillerson, speaking to the Security Council, did not rule out military potential in the interest of achieving the goal of nuclear nonproliferation, reinforcing a recent string of military appeals by a variety of US officials.
During the UN General Assembly speech by President Trump, it wasn’t the “Rocket Man” or “…we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea” lines that were the most interesting. Rather, it was a subtle note made early in the speech: “It has just been announced that we will be spending almost $700 billion on our military and defense. Our military will soon be the strongest it has ever been.” That’s in addition to recent remarks by United States Ambassador to United Nations Nikki Haley (“Begging for war”) and public threats by President Donald Trump via tweets and the inflammatory United Nations General Assembly speech. With Tillerson’s remarks at the Security Council, the administration seems to be seriously ramping up a potential for military involvement in the DPRK if other means of de-escalation and nuclear nonproliferation measures continue to not work.
In stark contrast to Tillerson’s considerations at the Security Council yesterday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov made an effort to persuade a more diplomatic approach to DPRK and a separate press conference. He implored, with some degree of exasperation, speaking to both United States and DPRK leadership, that we “cool down the hotheads” and move forward with a diplomatic approach. Its to be seen whether he gets his way in this regard. Fortunately, the UN has been a productive venue for the discussions, Lavrov citing the potential of a “neutral European country” to serve as a mediator in the discussions.