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Will strongest sanctions on N. Korea without oil export ban work to prevent 6th nuke test?

Will strongest sanctions on N. Korea without oil export ban work to prevent 6th nuke test?

Posted August. 07, 2017 07:18,   

Updated August. 07, 2017 07:32

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The United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted on Sunday Resolution 2371 on sanctions against North Korea in the wake of the North’s two ICBM-class ballistic missile tests. The resolution calls for complete ban on the North’s export of minerals such as coal and iron ore and fisheries and blocking Pyongyang from sending its workers to foreign countries. The resolution comes 33 days after the North’s first ICBM-class missile launch on July 4, but analysts say it is the strongest ever. U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted, “(The resolution will have) very big financial impact! (on North Korea)” in expressing satisfaction.

 

The latest U.N. resolution is expected to have the impact of blocking foreign currency worth 1 billion U.S. dollars from flowing into the North by widely curbing Pyongyang’s export of main export items including minerals, seafood and labor. The value is about one third of the North’s annual export worth an estimated 3 billion dollars in total. U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley enthusiastically welcomed the resolution calling it “the single largest economic sanctions package ever leveled against the North Korean regime.” The resolution has come as Washington started wielding strong pressure on Beijing by saying it will declare full-blown trade war against China, which prompted Beijing in dire strait to have last-minute negotiations. Washington has put off declaring trade war for now as the agreement has been reached.

 

However, questions still remain over the effect of the resolution. Halt of crude oil supply to the North, which Washington demanded, has been excluded. The list of people to be sanctioned does not include North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. These measures were expected to suffocate Pyongyang and officially label the Kim Jong Un regime as gangsters’ group, but they have excluded from the resolution due to opposition by China and Russia. It also cannot be guaranteed that China will thoroughly implement the sanctions although they have been adopted. North Korea depends 90 percent of its external trade on China. There is a significant volume of secretive trade across North Korea-China border, but China has left loopholes in sanctions through loose crackdown. Without practical implementation of the sanctions by China that has the strongest influence on the North, the latest sanctions against Pyongyang could only end up being one-off verbal threat.

Meeting with North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho in the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in the Philippines on Sunday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi demanded Pyongyang conduct no further missile launches and nuclear tests. However, the Chinese diplomat said, “The U.S. and South Korea should not conduct acts that can escalate tension again,” in criticizing both sides. Under this circumstance, chances are high that North Korea will counter the sanctions with additional provocations just as it has been. The North’s Rodong Sinmun threatened “The U.S. mainland will fall into unimaginably horrible sea of fire.” If North Korea conducts ICBM launches and the sixth nuclear test, China should be completely held responsible. Beijing should keep in mind that it has the responsibility to block Pyongyang from making reckless provocations and to guide the Stalinist state to the right path.