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

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid