Hillary Clinton Warns North Korea Over “Provocative Actions”
Speaking in Japan, Secretary of State Clinton joined the small chorus of voices condemning North Korea for sinking a South Korean warship:
TOKYO — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton harshly condemned North Korea on Friday for a deadly torpedo attack on a South Korean Navy warship last March, and promised to marshal an international response in the coming week with Japan, China and other countries.
“I think it is important to send a clear message to North Korea that provocative actions have consequences,” she said after meeting here with the Japanese foreign minister, Katsuya Okada. “We cannot allow this attack on South Korea to go unanswered by the international community.”
Mrs. Clinton declined to lay out the potential options for a response, saying that would be premature. But she left little doubt that the United States would undertake an intensive diplomatic effort to craft a response to the sinking of the Cheonan, which killed 46 sailors and was one of the biggest military provocations on the Korean Peninsula since the Korean War.
Among the options being considered by South Korean and American officials is a United Nations Security Council resolution, and joint naval exercises with South Korea that could include anti-submarine warfare operations. South Korea may also cut off its remaining trade with the North.
“Let me be clear: this will not, and cannot be, business as usual,” Mrs. Clinton said, speaking in solemn tones. “There must be an international, not just a regional, but an international response.”
Which, presumably means the United Nations, assuming we can get China to go along.
Even if we can, though, what exactly is Security Council condemnation and, perhaps, additional economic sanctions going to accomplish ?
If this were any other nation, and any other part of the world, the response to a torpedo attack on a warship would be military retaliation of some kind. That’s not going to happen on the Korean Peninsula and, given both the irrationality of the Pongyang regime, and the danger of a wider war, it probably shouldn’t. However, we already know that words and sanctions don’t have much of an impact on Kim Jong Il so it’s unclear what good they’d do this time around.