This signalled defiance of UN Security Council Resolution 2270, passed unanimously on March 2, which condemns Pyongyang's nuclear test on January 6 and its satellite launch (using ballistic missile technology) on February 7, imposes the toughest sanctions yet on the Kim regime.
- Whether the new sanctions are more effective than previous ones will take time to assess, and depends on interpretation and implementation.
- Pyongyang's strategic direction may be clarified once the ruling party holds its first Congress for 35 years in May.
- With China-North Korea ties icy, Russia will give Kim a degree of diplomatic cover.
- South Korea's new hard line is bipartisan; even most liberals no longer support a 'sunshine' policy.
- Any eventual return to diplomacy may have to await new leaders in Washington in 2017 and Seoul from February 2018.