On Friday, the United Nations unanimously voted to levy the harshest sanctions yet against Kim Jong Un’s North Korean regime. The new limitations include a significant reduction in oil imports into the nation and the demand for all North Korean citizens working abroad to return to their home nation within 24 months. Because North Korea maintains a significant foreign labor workforce, with revenue flowing back into the nation by way of the government, these sanctions promise to cut Kim off from both fuel and one of his few remaining legitimate revenue streams. Further, the sanctions lay out how things like permitted oil imports will further diminish with any subsequent banned weapons tests.
Following Friday’s announcement, many have begun to wonder if these new sanctions might be enough to force a begrudging Kim to the negotiation table. How effective they are will depend on how quickly nations implement them, and although North Korea has received the message, they have not yet felt the sting of the security council resolution. So, at least for now, it’s business as usual from the Korean peninsula.
“The United States, completely terrified at our accomplishment … is getting more and more frenzied in the moves to impose the harshest-ever sanctions and pressure on our country,” a statement released to North Korea’s government owned media outlet, KCNA read, following Friday’s decision.
“We define this ‘sanctions resolution’ rigged up by the U.S. and its followers as a grave infringement upon the sovereignty of our Republic, as an act of war violating peace and stability in the Korean peninsula and the region and categorically reject the ‘resolution’,” the statement said.
Compared to most rhetoric to come out of Kim Jong Un’s regime, these statements could be considered borderline friendly, despite characterizing the resolution as an “act of war.” Usually decisions that have adverse effects on North Korea are met with immediate threats of pre-emptive nuclear strikes. Of course, that isn’t to say that Kim’s statement didn’t come without a fair bit of aggressive posturing none the less.
“Those countries that raised their hands in favor of this ‘sanctions resolution’ shall be held completely responsible for all the consequences to be caused by the ‘resolution’ and we will make sure for ever and ever that they pay heavy price for what they have done,” the statement said.
The statement went on to indicate that if the United States “wishes to live safely, it must abandon its hostile policy” toward North Korea.
Of course, despite the tough talk, these new sanctions promise to further strangle the North Korean economy, which is already showing significant signs of wear. The real question will be whether or not Kim is able to maintain operations at all in the face of even stricter sanctions, or if he, and his nation, will eventually grow desperate enough to consider relinquishing his nuclear efforts.
Of course, according to his regime, such a day will never come. According to the statement, the U.S. need to “wake up from its pipe dream of our country giving up nuclear weapons.”
Image courtesy of the Associated Press