What is the Road Ahead?

By Victor Cha

The United Nations Security Council chambers. Source: Scott Garner's flickr photostream, used under a creative commons license.

The United Nations Security Council chambers. Source: Scott Garner’s flickr photostream, used under a creative commons license.

Earlier today, North Korea announced it had conducted a hydrogen bomb test. We take a look at the road ahead for the United Nations and the United States in response in our latest snapshot post:

  • The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) will convene this week, issue statements and eventually authorize a new UNSC resolution calling for ramped-up sanctions.  The past three resolutions have not, however, impeded the nuclear program or deterred more tests.
  • The United States will throttle up sanctions based on the new UNSC resolution and the Presidential Executive Order 13687 issued on January 2, 2015 following the Sony hack to impose more financial sanctions on accounts and individuals involved with proliferation, cyber attacks, and human rights.
  • The United States may seek immediate trilateral meetings with its key allies Japan and Korea, as well as pursue better cooperation on missile defense and intelligence sharing with Seoul and Tokyo.
  • There will be anger and disappointment expressed by them and others, but remains to be seen whether we will see a change in Chinese behavior.  The Chinese foreign ministry stated that they were not informed of the test in advance.  A good, albeit lofty, outcome would be for China to embargo economic activity in response to the test, and temporarily close off airspace to North Korean flights.
  • In terms of diplomacy outside of UN actions, the nuclear test provides an opportunity for the Six-Party Talks to consider organizing China, Japan, South Korea, Russia and the United States to discuss steps forward and potential contingencies.
  • Once a UNSC resolution is put forward, North Korea is likely to respond in some manner to the resolution when it is announced, which may lead to a new round of provocations.

Korea Chair Snapshot is a product by the CSIS Korea Chair providing key takeaways from breaking events of the day. Korea Chair Snapshot is published by the Office of the Korea Chair.

Dr. Victor Cha is senior adviser and holds the Korea Chair at CSIS. You can follow him on twitter @vcgiants.

Victor Cha

Victor Cha

Dr. Victor Cha is senior adviser and Korea Chair at CSIS. He is also a professor of government at Georgetown University.


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