At an Asian security conference in Singapore over the weekend, U.S. and Japanese officials floated the possibility of sending the matter to the U.N. Security Council for consideration of economic penalties and other punishments.
North Korea has said it would interpret U.N. penalties as an act of war. But it is not clear whether North Korea actually would consider military action or whether the statement was just more of the country's harsh rhetoric.
My question is twofold: 1) what exactly do we think the U.N. can do with economic sanctions, and 2) does anyone really think the Chinese wouldn't veto any resolution with teeth?
The North Korean economy is in shambles. Their only export is weapons technology, most of their customers, like Pakistan, Libya, Iran and Yemen, don't care about U.N. resolutions unless they're against America and her allies, and much of the sales are done in secret. Their only import is food, and the Koreans don't pay anything, it's all aid.