North Korea: Sanctions, Engagement, and Strategic Reorientation

by Marcus Noland

East-West Center Working Papers: Innovation and Economic Growth Series, No. 14

Publisher: Honolulu: East-West Center
Publication Date: October 2018
Binding: paper
Pages: 29
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This paper examines the roles that sanctions, and inducements might play in resolving the North Korea problem. It finds that while the "maximum pressure" narrative is plausible, the evidence to substantiate it is thin. Likewise, the North Korean regime is aware of the potentially constraining (or even destabilizing) political implications of cross-border economic integration and has acted to structure engagement in ways to blunt its transformative impact. Maximizing the transformative possibilities of engagement will require conscious planning by North Korea's partners. Multilateral guidelines and voluntary codes on corporate conduct could be used to anchor this process, but they will only be effective if there is greater political commitment to such norms than has been witnessed to date. Without such commitments, engagement risks enabling North Korea's doctrine of the parallel development of weapons of mass destruction and the economy. Keywords: North Korea, sanctions, labor standards, voluntary codes, special economic zones