While tensions with North Korea have always been high, lately the relationship between the U.S. and Kim Jong-Un have been particularly touchy. North Korea has always talked a big game but struggled to back that up with military technology. Recently, however, North Korea launched test missile strikes to showcase a capability to attack the U.S. And while North Korea isn’t quite ready for war, the country is definitely working towards it. To dissuade the country, the U.S. is now exploring economic sanctions against North Korea. How do sanctions work against a country who wants nothing but war with us? Can the plan actually work?
How Do Sanctions Work Against North Korea?
The Trump administration is looking to use sanctions to calm North Korea. And it could work.
The U.S. would apply pressure to North Korea trading partners — specifically China — to force North Korea to adhere to peace. Chinese banks and firms that do the most business with North Korea would see significant pressure from the U.S. to temper relations with North Korea. In addition to the financial pressure, the U.S., South Korea, and Japan would all ramp up defenses should Kim Jong-Un get any ideas about launching his missiles at a live target.
The plan is being put together by Trump’s national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, and would be reviewed by Trump prior to his meeting with China’s President, Xi Jinping in April. However, that timeline could be affected by the vacancies in several key national security roles within the administration.
However, China has been clear that the country does not have any desire to enforce economic sanctions with North Korea as a trading partner. Beijing is urging all sides to discuss the issue and calm the nuclear issue through diplomatic channels. But since China is part of the U.N. Security Council, it would be required to implement sanctions to diffuse the situation.
There are a few problems with the plan, though. For starters, North Korea is already under heavy sanctions. On top of that, North Korea is fairly isolated from the rest of the world and the world’s finances. As a self-sustained country, North Korea may not feel the need to acquiesce to any sanctions. But with China’s help, sanctions could be extremely effective as North Korea relies heavily on trade through Chinese banks.
Here's a video from Arirang News discussing U.S. sanctions on North Korea:
The U.S. is also considering military options and seizing any assets belonging to North Korea and Kim Jong-Un outside of the country. And while Trump generally has no patience for foreign policy, it seems in this case he is heeding Obama’s warning of caution with North Korea as a major international issue.
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