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New Sanctions, New Loopholes for North Korea

On September 12, the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed a resolution that imposed a ban on North Korea’s textile exports and capped imports of crude oil. But analysts say that this latest round of sanctions will not stop the North’s illicit activities overseas to earn hard currency because they still provide loopholes that allow it to evade sanctions.

Although the latest sanctions provide a position for the international community to make a strong, unified statement that North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons is unacceptable, they are most likely insufficient to cause the Kim Jong-un regime to give up its nuclear ambitions.

The U.S. pushed for a complete oil embargo on the North, but due to opposition from China and Russia, that was moderated to an import cap.

The new resolution asks all UN members to inspect ships going in and out of the North’s ports, but although the U.S. had proposed that UN troops be authorized to use force, that was not part of the final language of the sanctions.

The new sanctions also miss areas that help North Korea obtain hard currency, such as cybercrime.

North Korea was linked to cyberattacks that targeted banks in Bangladesh, Vietnam, and Ecuador. The North Korean General Reconnaissance Bureau is linked to the WannaCry ransomware as well.

Sean King, Senior Vice President of Park Strategies, said, “Regime change is the only answer because the North will never give up its nukes but these sanctions won’t result in regime change, or collapse.”

King said that the most effective sanction would be a complete oil embargo.

“We must deny Pyongyang hard currency and whatever it needs to function at every turn,” King added. “In addition to China’s banks enabling the North to continue its weapons programs, the U.S. should immediately sanction and deny U.S. dollar access to any Chinese oil company that supplies Pyongyang.”

 

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