Sunday, July 11, 2010

Did the UN Security Council blink on the sunken 'Cheonan'?

The editorial staff of the NYT ['New York Times', in the 11 July 2010 'News in Review'] thinks that the UN Security Council dropped the ball on not naming the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea aka North Korea] as the guilty party in the sunken ROK [Republic of Korea aka South Korea] corvette 'Cheonan'.
Instead the Council did regret the incident with its 46 dead crew without blaming North Korea.
South Korea and its protector the US brought the matter before the UN. Throwing its full weight and prestige to influence a condemnation of Pyongyang, the Obama administration failed.
South Korea brought the 150 page report supported by experts from the US, Australia, and Sweden that the DPRK was responsible for the torpedoing of the corvette.
As GuamDiary has noted, the full report was never made public, only 'selected and selective pages', for Seoul's and Washington's fears that 'unnamed sources' would be compromised. So much for transparency! GuamDiary also observed that the South Korean authorities criticised the methods of gathering the 'smoking gun' evidence proving that the North did the dastardly deed. GuamDiary as well mentioned that the DPRK issued its own dossier on the sinking of the 'Cheonan'; denied any responsibility; and proposed that the South welcome a Northern delegation to review the evidence [request denied].
Mr. Obama wishing to save his ally South Korea's president Lee Myung bek's loss of face by a veto in the Security Council, parliamented long and hard with Russia and especially China who would not go along with sanctions against the DPRK.
Now let's not forget that the ROK and the US provided Moscow and Beijing with the complete 150 page report that South Korea refused to make public. And still Russia and China did not bite the bait.
Hence the NYT editorial staff regret that Washington and Seoul settled for a 'pis aller', a 'lowest common denominator' verdict without pinning the tail of the donkey of blame on Pyongyang.
The US and ROK have mounted the fiery horses of revenge against the DPRK on any number of fronts. And failed in all political jousts.
The DPRK at least had the good sense to suggest that it might return to the six party talks in Beijing which it has boycotted for more than a year.
GuamDiary hopes that Washington and Seoul have learnt something from this exercise of common wrath by taking the path of diplomacy.
The US and ROK have yet to absorb and comprehend Talleyrand's dictum 'surtout pas de zele'. Talleyrand managed to survive each wrenching twist and turn from the Ancient Regime through the Revolution, Napoleon, the reactionary restoration of the Bourbons, and die peacefully in his bed during the reign of the bourgeois king, Louis Phillipe. These two countries would do well to learn from his example of using diplomacy to resolve outstanding issues.
It is good to point out that the NYT editorials on North Korea have always gone for the hard line. They reflect the lingering Cold War mentality and influence in the news room.

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