US officials, led by Ambassador Nikki Haley, have been making the rounds worldwide pushing for all nations to sever diplomatic ties with North Korea. This further undermines the US claims of being open to talks, but it’s also not clear what they expect to accomplish.
Since the US has no direct diplomatic ties with North Korea themselves, any diplomatic efforts require some intermediary. Yet if the US got its way, and everyone cuts off North Korea ties, there are no such intermediaries.
In practice, the US doesn’t expect this to be a successful push. Officials suggest that North Korea takes its international standing very seriously, and even a little bit of diplomatic harm would greatly embarrass them, however.
Plus it’s not like the US has a lot of “non-war” options left for things to do to North Korea. The nation doesn’t trade with much of anybody, except for China and Russia, and the US doesn’t have any real chance of cutting off either of those partners. Convincing a couple embassies to close, it seems, is the closest the US can do to exerting influence, and even that very speculatively, and to little real end.