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(EDITORIAL from The Korea Herald on Sept. 12)

All News 06:58 September 12, 2016

Sanctions on North
Repetition leads to skepticism amid China's passivity

Fresh sanctions on North Korea will likely be tabled at a United Nations Security Council meeting in the wake of its fifth nuclear test. South Korea and the US are poised to ask the UN to fill loopholes in previous sanction resolutions.

The sanctions may include an extended list of goods or items prohibited from being shipped to and from the North, according to officials in Seoul.

Seoul and Washington are carrying out their search for any traces, involving radionuclides, which could come from the fifth nuclear test from Pyongyang.

The South Korean Air Force launched light attack planes equipped with radionuclide detectors to gauge the level of atmospheric radionuclide exposure in Gangwon Province, the northeastern part of the peninsula. Collected samples will help in analyzing the composition of nuclear substances, officials say.

Both the move to issue sanctions and search activities are undoubtedly necessary. However, these are just a repetition of past actions.

Government officials have stressed in the past that sanctions would be stronger than ever whenever the North conducts provocations. They have said sanctions at that time removed loopholes in previous resolutions.

But the efficacy of past disciplinary measures on the communist regime have been questioned.

Resolutions have previously weakened as time went by, with no penalties being handed down to UN members that violated rules on trade with North Korea.

Sanctions were once lifted in response to the North's proposals to hold dialogue with the South and the US. But attempts at reconciliation, including the six-party talks, broke down without bearing fruit, as the North declined to agree to the scheme to denuclearize the peninsula.

As a result, it is not surprising that skepticism over the coming resolutions is emerging again. Chances are quite slim that the Kim Jong-un regime will scrap its nuke development as long as Beijing allows it to continue.

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