The New York Times’ Monday editorial page leads with an item dismissive of the Security Council’s role in resolving the North Korea missile crisis. The editorial board, however, may have spoken too soon. For one, Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns gave public assurances that the Security Council has the votes to go forward with a Chapter Seven resolution sanctioning North Korea. Meanwhile, Ambassador Bolton explained the delay in Security Council action today as part of a strategy to give the Chinese maximum room and leverage to coax North Korea back into the six party talks. And according to Bloomberg News, Ambassador Bolton even held out the possibility that the Security Council resolution could be tabled should North Korea rejoin the Six Party talks.
All this is to say that contrary to the Times, the Security Council has not been a sideshow. Rather, it is playing the central role of providing leverage to China and the United States as they work to resolve this crisis.