China and Pakistan are “passive enablers” of the North Korean nuclear program and may face some secondary sanctions for violating United Nations approved sanction, say USA -based experts, with China being a bigger issue.

Soon after North Korea conducted its fifth nuclear test, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump offered their prescriptions for a USA response.

Last week, the Security Council held urgent consultations to discuss the North’s nuclear test.

Following last week’s tests, the US President Barack Obama pledged to unleash a new round of sanctions on Pyongyang, but decades of economic punishments have done nothing to stop the North so far, and it is highly unlikely that more sanctions will make much of a difference.

China is in a hard spot, a source close to the Chinese leadership told Reuters when asked if Beijing’s attitude to North Korea had changed after its fifth nuclear test last week.

China did sign on to U.N. Resolution 2270, the package of new sanctions in March.

The isolated state of North Korea conducted its fifth and largest nuclear test on September 9.

Conventional wisdom has it that Beijing has no choice but to continue propping up the North Korean regime because the alternative is even worse – the collapsed economy would send millions of refugees into China and bring a unified Korea under American military protection. Remittances from North Koreans working overseas could be seized; by some estimates Pyongyang grabs as much as $2 billion of these a year. The country has faced five sets of United Nations sanctions since its first test in 2006, but the penalties have utterly failed to curb its nuclear ambitions. Already Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate for president, has called for a “rethinking” of strategy on the North. “According to the news report, “[KMPR] is meant to launch pre-emptive bombing attacks on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and the country’s military leadership if signs of their impending use of nuclear weapons are detected or in the event of a war”. How should these countries respond to this latest North Korean provocation? Their motives may be less mercurial than United States analysts and the New York Times imagine: based on its own history, China believes stronger sanctions would be ineffective and ultimately counterproductive.

If Pyongyang refuses to negotiate, the United States and its allies should judiciously apply new military measures to deny North Korea the benefit of its actions and to strengthen deterrence against military attacks.

The report offers considerably more detail and grist for debates surrounding each of these recommendations that represent course corrections and departures from the Obama administration’s approach that has been built on pressure and deterrence while leaving open the possibility for dialogue-if North Korea is willing to credibly demonstrate its willingness to pursue denuclearization. Sanctions haven’t made much difference.

Japan is on high alert following North Korea’s fifth underground atom bomb explosion which came on the heels of three ballistic missile tests whose dummy warheads fell close to Japan’s coast.

According to him, Pakistan and Iran could also meet the threshold if the USA intelligence community can come to a conclusion that there is sufficient linkages to warrant secondary sanction on entities from those countries.

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