A Chinese Perspective on the Impact of Sanctions

 

Since the Korean War, North Korea (the DPRK) has endured sanctions imposed by the United States and other western countries, but the sanctions began to acquire a dramatic impact only in 2006 when North Korean ballistic missile blasts invited a punitive reaction from the UN Security Council. In addition to sanctions imposed by individual countries, for the first time, international organizations, notably the Security Council, passed punitive resolutions in an effort to rein in North Korea’s missile and nuclear development. In order to supervise implementation of the sanctions, the Security Council set up a committee established pursuant to resolution 1718 in 2006 (the sanctions committee), which now comprises all 15 members and makes its decisions by consensus. To North Korea’s dismay, as it continues to fight against western countries’ economic sanctions and military embargo, it now has to bear the brunt of sanctions from its traditional allies, China and Russia. Even so, it has been defying international pressure and pressing ahead with its missile and nuclear weapons programs. Despite tougher sanctions, North Korea is poised to possess missiles with nuclear warheads that could hit South Korea, Japan, and the United States. This paper explores the effectiveness of the sanctions, asking whether the North’s steady progress on nuclear and missile weapons demonstrates their failure.

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