News / Asia

Effectiveness of UN Sanctions on North Korea Questioned

In this Dec. 12, 2012 file image made from video, North Korea's Unha-3 rocket lifts off from the Sohae launching station in Tongchang-ri, North Korea.
In this Dec. 12, 2012 file image made from video, North Korea's Unha-3 rocket lifts off from the Sohae launching station in Tongchang-ri, North Korea.
As the world waits to see whether North Korea will follow through on its threat to conduct a third nuclear test, some analysts say the international community should look into new ways of dealing with Pyongyang.

Last month, North Korea promised to soon conduct a "high-level" nuclear test after the United Nations Security Council tightened sanctions against the communist state. The 15-member body was responding to a November long-range rocket launch that North Korea was banned from conducting under previous U.N. sanctions.

Sanctions not working

If the new threat is carried out, it would be the third time in the last seven years that North Korea has conducted a nuclear test following U.N. condemnations of its rocket launches, raising serious questions about the effectiveness of the U.N.'s strategy toward Pyongyang's advancing nuclear weapons program.

The latest Security Council resolution, which expands asset freezes and travel bans on several North Korean entities, virtually assured that Pyongyang would conduct another nuclear test, according to Korea analyst Ben Habib of Australia's Latrobe University.

"We've seen in the past whenever the international community tries to 'tighten the noose' on North Korea, it has the opposite effect of provoking more escalatory behavior," Habib says. "I'm quite certain that's going to happen again here."

But he says it is unclear what else the Security Council can do, other than take steps to target outside entities that help North Korea get around the sanctions.

Negotiations the best way forward?

Others say negotiations, not more sanctions, may be the most effective method moving forward.

"It looks like it's time to look at the possibility of talking to the North Koreans, rather than pushing them further toward the corner," says Leonid Petrov, a Korea researcher at the Australian National University.

North Korean Nuclear Tests

2006
  • Carried out underground at Punggye-ri
  • Powered by plutonium
  • Released radioactive materials

2009
  • Carried out underground at Punggye-ri
  • Seismic signals were consistent with a nuclear test
  • Radioactive material was not detected
If the United States and its allies were to hold talks with North Korea, Petrov says they should not take place in the context of the stalled, six-party negotiations, which North Korea walked out of in 2009.

"[The talks should probably take place] in the form of bilateral negotiations and agreements between Pyongyang and Washington, Pyongyang and Seoul, Pyongyang and Beijing, Moscow, and Tokyo - bilaterally rather than multilaterally," he says.

Petrov also suggests the United States and its allies should not give up on offering aid to win concessions from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who has promised to use this year to improve the lives of his people, following years of food shortages and famine.

China plays key role

But whether through sanctions or negotiations, it seems that China, North Korea's only major ally, will play an important part in helping reduce tensions on the Korean peninsula.

Linda Jakobsen of the Sydney-based Lowy Institute for International Policy, says it is encouraging that Beijing backed the latest Security Council resolution, saying it could be a sign that China's frustration with North Korea has "reached the point of exasperation."

"This could be a signal that China is more ready than it has been in the recent past to back a tougher response against North Korea," says Jakobsen, who also warns that it is unclear how far Beijing is ready to go. "One must always remember that China's long-standing policy when it comes to North Korea is no war, no instability, and no nukes - and in that order."

You May Like

Video Snowstorm Sweeps Northeastern US

'This is nothing like we feared it would be,' New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says; he had warned storm could be one of worst in city history More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle With Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid