How can North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s nuclear arms ambitions be stopped? Is it possible that the United Nations Security Council’s strongest-ever sanctions against North Korea for conducting its sixth nuclear test could persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear program, as Iran has done before?
China and Russia, supporters of North Korea, have agreed to the latest sanctions which ban 90 percent of North Korea’s exports, albeit with some loopholes. The sanctions have been watered down, falling short of initial proposals, including a total ban on crude oil imports, demanded by the United States. But crude oil supplies to North Korea are frozen to current levels and refined petroleum product exports are limited to 2 million barrels annually.
For its part, the Trump administration also on Sept. 21 signed an executive order to fully implement the “secondary boycott” of individuals and institutions of third countries which have trade and financial transactions with North Korea. The move may be construed as the United States’ firm determination to confront China and Russia to preempt North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.
The United States’ executive order contains regulations restricting banking institutions with financial resources flowing into North Korea as well as sea and flight routes in which goods are delivered.
The move could anger China, who deals with 90 percent of North Korea’s trade, launching an economic tit-for-tat between the two super powers. The United States’ executive order indicates its strong stand “no compromise” on the North Korea nuclear issue. U.S. President Donald Trump made it clear the United States has “no tolerance” toward the North during his tripartite talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
The United States is very familiar with secondary boycotts since its 2015 action against Iran. Various economic sanctions on Iran the United States had imposed since 1996 failed to foil Iran’s nuclear development, so in 2015, the United States began to impose a ban on exports of Iranian crude oil, the nation’s biggest export item, and Iranian financial institutions. Iran, which had seen its crude oil exports cut in half, had ended up appearing at the negotiation table, which led to a deal between Iran and the United States.
Now the United States has imposed restrictions on all foreign financial institutions which have deals with the North, as all Iranian financial bodies had been blocked from foreign financial counterparts for money laundering.
The U.S. executive order also imposes a ban on ships and flights entering the United States for 180 days that had entered North Korean ports and airports, which is similar to a former Iran sanction.
North Korean leader Kim 's brinkmanship has escalated into a war of words with U.S. President Trump anew. In a statement issued to his name, the North Korean called Trump “dotard” and pledged to take the strongest countermeasures against the United States. Kim’s angry reaction came after Trump in his address to the UN General Assembly called Kim “Rocket Man” and the United States would totally destroy North Korea if it felt threatened.
The Korean news agency Yonhap quoted North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho as saying that Pyongyang may conduct a hydrogen bomb test in the Pacific as a warning against the United States. North Korea’s conducting of a hydrogen bomb test in the Pacific could have a huge fallout and repercussions literally and politically, military and diplomatic experts agree.
The United States and North Korea have been raising the rhetoric against each other.
North Korean leader Kim’s brinkmanship resulted in a war of words in which U.S. President Trump promised “fire and fury” against North Korea on Aug. 8, which prompted the North Korean army to threaten to fire four missiles near Guam, laying out in a detailed plan of attack at the U.S. territory.
Despite the U.N. sanctions, North Korea has test-fried missiles, including ballistic ones, into the Pacific over the Japanese territory, and conducted five nuclear tests since 2006.
Moon’s Call for UN Role in North Korean Nuclear Issue
South Korean President Moon appealed to the United Nations to take a greater role in solving the North Korean nuclear issue, while delivering his maiden speech at the UN General Assembly in New York on Sept. 21. “Find a fundamental way to end this vicious circle of provocations and sanctions is the most important task,” he said.
President Moon renewed his call for inter-Korean peace, first made in Berlin in July when North Korea turned down it.
President Moon and U.S. President Trump shared the view during their summit talks on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly that the strongest pressure and sanctions against North Korea should be taken to prevent North Korea’s threatening actions and ensure the denuclearization, Cheong Wa Dae officials said.