North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has ordered nuclear weapons to be ready to use ‘at any time’. This announcement comes after the US-drafted UN resolution that was adopted on Wednesday. The resolution calls for more and tougher sanctions on North Korea as a response to recent nuclear and missile tests. The sanctions focus on targeting mineral exports and to undermine the country’s use of and access to international transport systems. Furthermore, North Korean cargo ships and aircraft will have to be inspected before entering and after leaving the country. Small arms and conventional weapons sales to North Korea will also be prohibited under these new sanctions.
The US explained that the sanctions are not there to hurt the North Korean people, but that they have to be imposed to “increase the costs on Pyong Yang’s leadership as it stubbornly seeks to advance its prohibited nuclear and ballistic missile programs.” China has also backed the sanctions and helped to back them which is a big deal since they are North Korea’s only major international ally.
South Korea announced that the North had fired six short-range projectiles on Thursday. Kim Jong Un had reportedly given this comment: “At an extreme time when the Americans… are urging war and disaster on other countries and people, the only way to defend our sovereignty and right to live is to bolster our nuclear capability.” Similar words have been spoken in the past and so far no sanctions or words have been able to deter Kim Jong Un from furthering his nuclear ambitions. These sanctions are indeed the toughest that have ever been imposed on the country, but that doesn’t automatically mean that they will be the solution to this nuclear threat we face.
North Korean media reportedly also said that the imposition of new sanctions would be a “grave provocation” that shows “extreme” U.S. hostility against the country and that the sanctions wouldn’t be successful in deterring the country’s nuclear programs. North Korea has around ten to sixteen nuclear bombs right now and experts say he could have as many as one hundred by 2020.
Time will tell what Kim Jong Un will do and if China and the US will take further action. For now, it seems as though North Korea will continue ignoring international orders and that they have no intention to change the course of their nuclear plans.