An Effective Sanctions Regime

North Korean nuclear weapons and missiles are multiplying like cancer cells.

It was 25 years ago that the U.S. intelligence satellite KH-11 took some suspicious images of the 5MW nuclear reactor at Yongbyon, North Korea, which was then under construction.

For the next quarter of a century, North Korea has continually caused nuclear problems: the first North Korean nuclear crisis and the Geneva Agreement of 1994; the Taepodong-1 missile launch in 1998; a close call nuclear test on October 2, 2002; missile testing and the nuclear test of 2006; and finally the alleged satellite Kwangmyungsung-2 launch last Sunday.

In reality, nuclear weapons and missiles are twin weapons of mass destruction. Some say that the Teappodong-2 failed this time, but that failure is not particularly significant. The Kim Jong Il regime has extended itself enough this time and will drive its technology on to greater success in the form of nuclear tests and an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile which can reach the U.S.

As long as the totalitarian dictatorship regime lasts, the degree of nuclear and missile development will rise and at the same time the grim reality of people’s lives will continue to deteriorate.

The total amount that North Korea had spent developing nuclear weapons and missiles is placed at around 2.6 billion dollars. The cost of the latest test is guesstimated at 300 million dollars. 300 million dollars is the value of one million tons of rice even according to the high international grain prices of last summer. If this one million tons of rice plus grains domestically produced last year had been provided to the people, they could have been fed for a year or more.

During any freezing winter night, kotjebi who have lost their parents and homes die from cold, holding each other desperately for warmth. In April, when the snow thaws, young kotjebi corpses are revealed by the spring sunshine. Meanwhile, the government has just launched a long-range missile with that money for the sole purpose of preserving his dictatorship regardless of the desperate reality of his 23 million people.

It is beyond doubt that the biggest tumor on the Korean Peninsula is the Kim Jong Il regime.

International society has tried to deter North Korea from developing nuclear weapons and missiles with sticks and carrots for 25 years. Even now, the latest U.S. President agrees that last weekend’s launch was in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1718, and the UN has been in negotiation with related countries on what, if any, sanctions to apply.

However, international and UN sanctions are not effective because China and Russia do not act in concert and the North Korean economy is so isolated that sanctions put mere dents in it.

Therefore, the UN, the U.S., Japan and South Korea need to change their target to the Kim Jong Il regime itself. The sanctions to date have covered the ordinary people as well as the Kim regime. Therefore, new ideas are needed to put sanctions accurately and firmly on the regime itself.

Good instances exist: the counterfeit laundry through Banco Delta Asia of September, 2005 and the 20 million dollars for luxury yachts confiscated by EU officials in the last few weeks.

NGO broadcasting towards North Korea is also good. Broadcasting issues which are not distorted by propaganda allows the people of North Korea to know the reality of both their situation and the world. That’s another heavy strike against the Kim Jong Il regime.

It is particularly significant to send the news that the Kwangmyungsung-2 failed to enter its orbit to the people. It is important that the Kim regime know that the people know the news released by their own state-run media is fabricated.

To conclude, there are three strategic directions for sanctioning the Kim regime.

First is to put comprehensive pressure on the North Korean military through the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI).

Second is to drain away the sources of funding for the Kim dictatorship. Dollars flowing into North Korea do not contribute to people’s economic wellbeing; they contribute to Kim Jong Il’s luxurious private life and his own dictatorship. The international community must pay more attention to such sanctions on the Kim regime’s funding sources.

Third is to spread the reality of the Kim regime as it truly is to the North Korean people: facts on the ideology, politics, economics, military, international relations, society, and culture of the land in which they live. Just reporting the truth of the regime itself and the issues that happen in North Korean society is powerful and worthwhile education for the people who live in a closed world.

The basic reason why the Sunshine Policy failed was a false diagnosis. They thought that if they helped the Kim regime, it would come out into the sunshine; to reform and open itself to the world. Because of this thinking, previous South Korean administrations did not perform the necessary surgery to remove the cancer but just injected a painkiller into the tumor. Subsequently, the tumor has been encouraged to grow and develop its nuclear weapons and missiles.

There are progressive and conservative attitudes towards dealing with the North Korean issue, but the most important thing is to gain an insight into the problem. Armed with this insight and understanding of the Kim tyranny, the international community will be better able to build a precise and correct prescription for the tumor itself.