In an effort to halt North Korea’s nuclear arms expansion, the United Nations-imposed far-reaching economic sanctions on the rogue nation.
According to The Daily Caller, Ri Jong Ho, a former financial official in the North Korean government, says the sanctions are working. Ri said recently, “I don’t know if North Korea will survive a year [under] sanctions. Many people will die.”
Following numerous threats, intercontinental ballistic missile tests, and the supposed creation of a massive hydrogen bomb, the UN placed sanctions on North Korea that are designed to cripple that nation’s economy. These economic sanctions have cut off 90 percent of North Korea’s exports, effectively cutting them off from the global economy via trade restrictions.
Ri says the sanctions are a response that North Korea was not prepared for. “The sanctions that the White House has imposed on North Korea are of a historic level. Never before has the country faced such tough sanctions,” he said.
According to Ri, North Korea’s pursuit of a stronger nuclear arsenal is an attempt to be recognized as a contender among more powerful nations. The hostility experienced by the US is Kim Jong-un’s way of trying to intimidate the US into a diplomatic relationship that North Korea, one that the communist regime can dictate and control.
Yet, North Korea’s efforts to assert itself as a powerful nation is failing in the wake of an economy that seems to be unable to function under its own weight. It would seem that much of North Korea’s stability was a result of its relationship with China, something that is currently being tested.
Sources report that there is a spat happening between Kim Jong-un and Chinese President Xi Jinping. According to Ri, Kim is furious that China is siding with the US in an effort to quell North Korea’s hostility calling President Xi a “son of a b****.”
According to The Guardian, China is supporting the UN sanctions out of fear of alienating their largest trade partner, the United States. While the threat of angering their smaller ally is no doubt a concern, upsetting their major economic partner would be much more devastating and thus more intimidating.
The imposed sanctions seem to be having the desired effect on North Korea. The country is reported to be struggling to maintain its own economy, and its alliance with China is quickly becoming strained. Both problems, no doubt, have a serious impact on North Korea’s ability to continue its nuclear program and hinders the development of missiles capable of striking the US.
North Korea’s saber-rattling has landed them in an economic mess. Will sanctions bring Kim Jong-un to the negotiating table?
The claims by Ri that North Korea will not last a year under sanctions supports estimates proposed by some officials when the sanctions were first rolled out, according to The Guardian. a former South Korean diplomat for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chun Yung-woo, believed North Korea could only sustain itself “for at least one year” without oil imports.
With such severe economic sanctions, a strong ally growing weary of their relationship, and a suffering populace, the DPRK is likely feeling intense pressure to resolve the tense situation. What’s unclear is if that resolution will be a peaceful one in which the rogue nation abandons its nuclear goals, or if North Korea will go down in a blaze of fiery hostility at the expense of its own people.