Experts have told Daily NK that they expect a slightly different style of sanctions to be placed on North Korea if it goes ahead with its proposed long-range rocket launch later this month.
After the North’s previous launch in April, the UN Security Council placed sanctions on a number of organizations that were thought to be helping facilitate North Korea’s trade in and development of weapons of mass destructions (WMD).
However, experts expect any sanctions this time to not only target agencies directly implicated in WMD activities, but also to target a broader range of entities with economic clout in the North. It is an opinion based on the belief that cutting off funding sources can help to stop Pyongyang from conducting missile launches and nuclear weapons tests in future.
Cho Bong Hyun, a researcher with the Industrial Bank of Korea (IBK) Economic Research Institute told Daily NK, “If we do not cut off North Korea’s lines of credit then sanctions cannot be effective. Therefore, they will try to strengthen economic sanctions. The trade that is currently going normally could be faced with more difficult conditions, and humanitarian assistance could be stopped, too.”
Cho added, “In addition, it looks like a number more individuals and institutions will be added to the UN Security Council sanction list.”
Another anonymous researcher commented, “The best thing would be to apply financial sanctions in order to freeze North Korean funds, as was done with Banco Delta Asia (BDA). The BDA issue created fresh resistance in North Korea; however, freezing North Korean funds can still inflict a huge blow on their money channels.”
Some voices have suggested that the role of the UN North Korea Sanctions Committee should be improved, with disciplinary actions for those who fail to support it.
Baek Seung Joo of Korea Institute for Defense Analyses said, “Currently, sanctions against North Korea have been implemented across multi-faceted areas, but the problem is whether or not the sanctions are being implemented correctly. There need to be measures to warn those countries who are not actively taking part in the sanctions, and more monitoring of those countries which must apply them.”
Of course, one such country is China, whose full cooperation is essential if the sanctions are to succeed. China has criticized North Korea’s latest launch plan, but it remains to be seen whether this will translate into action.
“The international community must emphasize China’s role as a permanent member of the UN Security Council,” Baek explained. “Even if the international community imposes sanctions on North Korea, these will not be effective if China supports North Korea. China must take responsibility for its actions.”