North Korea’s Latest Nuclear Provocation

For the last decade, by focusing its investments in a narrow range of activities, the leaders in Pyongyang received the worldwide attention they crave by joining the nuclear club. Of course, the world community has condemned them at the United Nations. And yes, sometimes sanctions would be toughened a bit. But the North figured they could survive that. Meanwhile, China will continue to bail out their economy, because the Chinese leaders do not want a united Korea on their own border, especially not one that has American troops based all the way up to the Yalu River, where Korea and China meet.

So what can be done? Much, actually: We should encourage the U.S. Congress to reinforce the U.N. sanctions on North Korea. And this time, let’s go back to the policy of secondary sanctions: In other words, if a Chinese bank is financing energy or food sales to North Korea, slap the embargo on that bank. And if the U.N. won’t approve that, the United States can do it unilaterally. Let’s make sure that North Korea is again on the list of state sponsors of terrorism. We have plenty of evidence to prove that they deserve inclusion on this elite list. Let’s reassure our South Korean allies of the credibility of the U.S. nuclear deterrent. This should include more public and emphatic U.S. statements. Our military should include more frequent flybys of B-52s and B-2s, and deployments of nuclear-capable tactical aircraft to U.S. bases throughout South Korea. We also should encourage more visible U.S. Navy surface ship and submarine presence near the Korean Peninsula.

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