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Pursuing North Korea Sanctions That Work
EWC Non-Resident Senior Fellow Marcus Noland, who has done extensive economic and political research on North Korea, argues in an op-ed published in the current issue of Newsweek ’s international edition that the Obama administration and world community are unlikely to deter North Korea from staging another missile launch simply by the threat of a return to limited and “toothless” U.N economic sanctions, which have failed in the past. However, Noland writes, other, more substantive measures have previously proved more successful in dealing with the North Korean regime, including cutting off oil deliveries from China and freezing the regime’s overseas bank assets. Click here to read the Newsweek article.

“China has stopped oil deliveries before, and when it did so in 2003, Pyongyang quickly returned to the bargaining table,” Noland writes. “Other measures have also worked in the past. In 2005, for example, the U.S. Treasury Department acted against a small Macau bank holding North Korean assets, including profits from missile and gold sales and possibly even including Kim's personal political slush fund. This one measure tanked the black-market value of North Korea's currency, disrupted legitimate commerce and reportedly necessitated a scaling back of festivities associated with the Dear Leader's birthday. And Pyongyang got the message: it soon made concessions, such as shutting down the Yongbyon nuclear facilities and permitting the return of international inspectors.”

He concludes: “If the key players make it clear in advance that another missile launch will be met with comprehensive and strictly enforced trade and financial restrictions, as well as energy cuts, a reduction in aid and a willingness to disrupt the North's military cooperation, such pressure could well succeed where other, more feeble efforts have failed in the past.”