South Korea and others are now enforcing United Nations sanctions against North Korea. The sanctions were imposed in response to North Korea's detonation of a nuclear device and earlier launches of ballistic missiles. The sanctions include restricting North Korea access to military hardware.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says U-N Security Council resolution seventeen-eighteen was "an unprecedented step":
"For the first time ever the international community is requiring every country to deny North Korea access to major classes of military hardware as well as the luxury goods which the North Korean regime uses to retain the loyalty of the elite."
Ms. Rice recently traveled to China, Japan, South Korea, and Russia, the other four participants in the Six-Party Talks. Ms. Rice says that North Korea's dangerous and destabilizing provocation sparked quick action:
"My consultations in Tokyo and Seoul were part of a broader discussion that continued in Beijing and Moscow. In both countries the main focus of our conversations was the same: how can we better secure our common interests both in northeast Asia and beyond. And I found the leaders of China and Russia understanding of the importance of this work and willing to work toward this end in greater measure than ever before."
The goal, says Ms. Rice, is "to create an international environment that presses North Korea to make better decisions than it has made":
"[T]he transfer of nuclear weapons or materials by North Korea to any state or non-state entity would be considered a grave threat to the United States and we would hold North Korea fully accountable for the consequences of any such action. On this front, we are working with nations in the region to design a practical architecture for detection and screening of radioactive materials."
Secretary of State Rice says "a positive path remains open to North Korea through six-party talks." She says, "All of us are willing to return to the talks without precondition and we all agreed that if those talks resume, resolution seventeen-eighteen would remain in force until North Korea has made progress on denuclearization."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.