Asia Minute: Asia’s Reaction to North Korea Still Developing

Nov 30, 2017

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The United States has been quick to condemn North Korea’s latest missile launch. That tone of outrage has been matched from other national capitals, but what may come next in the region is an open question. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

We know there have been a lot of phone conversations since North Korea’s latest missile launch.

President Trump has spoken with the presidents of China and South Korea and the Prime Minister of Japan. The Foreign Ministers of South Korea and Japan spoke with each other.

The public condemnation has been universal, but further response may not be united.

At an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley called for all countries to break off relations with Pyongyang.

China’s Foreign Minister took a slightly different tone in Beijing—calling on North Korea to refrain from “further provocations” but also saying “we hope that all relevant parties could help promote dialogue to resolve the issue.”

South Korea’s Prime Minister told reporters in Seoul that “the prospect of dialogue with the North is getting slimmer.”

Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon said the Seoul government may add further unilateral sanctions against Pyongyang.

The call for sanctions always follows North Korean missile launches and nuclear tests.

And there are still measures that can be tightened: such as allowing North Korean ships to be stopped and searched on the high seas.

But many countries have already applied so many restrictions there is little left to do.

That puts them in a situation similar to Singapore—which earlier this month announced it had suspended all trade relations with North Korea.