With A Little Help From My Friends: How North Korea Has Diffused Maximum Pressure


Substantial evidence strongly indicates that Pyongyang has managed to dodge restrictions through the lax enforcement of its closest allies, China and Russia.  The international sanctions which were aimed to pressure North Korea to halt nuclear weapons development are now deemed to be ineffective.

At the historic June 12 summit, the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Un, agreed to work towards the “complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula”.  However, much to the disappointment of the U.S. government, North Korea has not taken active steps to honor the agreement.

How did they evade restrictions?

Apparently, reports reveal that cargoes like petroleum products and coal were transferred via ship-to-ship (STS) method which was inconspicuously done in the dead of night. North Korean laborers continue to work openly in Russia and Syria’s military employ Pyongyang personnel.

Mintaro Oba, a former US diplomat who worked on the North Korea policy said, “Kim Jong-Un is playing a very logical game. He’s getting weaker sanctions enforcement from China and Russia while engaging the United States on his terms.”

Oba added, “If it’s possible to weaken the resolve of China and other members of the international community to impose and enforce sanctions, that’s certainly in North Korea’s interest. But North Korea isn’t so committed to that goal that it would give up its nuclear program.”

U.S. Secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, expressed his frustration on the progress of Pyongyang’s denuclearization by warning China and Russia against lax sanctions enforcement.

With reports of alleged sanctions violations, North Korea’s state controlled media has begun calling for US to freeze the restrictions, stating that “ its moratorium on missile and nuclear tests, the dismantling of its only known nuclear test site and the return of Korean war dead was enough.”

Other North Korean outlets accused the United States of “gangster-like” diplomacy, which taints the historic summit’s agreement all the more.

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