A Russian Perspective on the Impact of Sanctions

 

The situation on the Korean Peninsula is moving in a dangerous direction. In order to affect the behavior of the North Korean regime and change its calculations, ultimately forcing Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear and missiles programs, the international community has imposed a set of tough economic sanctions. The recent set of sanctions was codified in the UN Security Council Resolution 2321. So far, the impact of these and other sanctions in order to change the DPRK’s actions appears to be limited. Russia is one of the active players on the Korean Peninsula. A geographical neighbor of the DPRK and a former Cold War ally, Russia is engaged in looking for solutions to the North Korean nuclear problem. Still, when it comes to economic sanctions against North Korea, Moscow has an ambiguous position. Its national interests on the Korean Peninsula include prevention of nuclear tests by the DPRK, positioning Russia as one of the leaders of the international community on nonproliferation; non-expansion of the U.S. military presence on the Korean Peninsula; and growth in Russian trade with both Korean states. The sanctions envisaged in Resolution 2321 do not support most of these goals, since Russia thinks that nuclear disarmament of DPRK is impossible in principle. However, Moscow is ready to play along with the sanctions track as long as Russia maintains the appearance of a critical player.

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