Are Sanctions Finally Affecting North Korea?
The communist country has scaled back its military exercises.
The West has done everything they could to prevent an all out war with North Korea by slapping the communist kingdom with sanctions after sanctions. Now it appears that sanctions have started to work since the military happy country has cut back on its military exercises mainly due to the sanctions on oil imports.
Last month, the United Nations Security Council unanimously imposed sanctions on North Korea. The sanctions resolution “cuts deliveries of products including diesel and kerosene by almost 90 percent, to the equivalent of 500,000 barrels per year starting Jan. 1.”
The sanctions do “not permit countries to hail and board North Korean ships in international waters, which the Trump administration proposed earlier this year.”
The Wall Street Journal reported:
The North Korean maneuvers, which typically run from December through March, were slow in getting started and are less extensive than usual, according to American officials familiar with intelligence reports and experts outside the government.
One possibility is that restrictions on shipments of oil and refined petroleum products to North Korea imposed by the United Nations have led the country, which has one of the world’s largest standing armies, to conserve fuel by cutting back on ground and air training exercises.
“Where this will have an effect is on ground-force readiness,” said Joseph S. Bermudez Jr. , a military analyst for 38 North, a website on North Korean affairs run by Johns Hopkins University’s U.S.-Korea Institute. “Military units have to train to maintain their proficiency.”
Since the sanctions don’t allow countries to board ships in international waters, North Korea may have found a way to work around the “sanctions by bringing in oil through ship-to-ship transfers on the high seas.”
However, experts have not found anything to convince them that North Korea has decreased their military capabilities or limit their “push to strengthen its nuclear and missile arsenal.”
Dictator Kim Jong Un told his generals on New Years to “mass-produce nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles.”
Experts have detailed other signs that North Korea’s military has some turmoil in it, especially when it comes to the defections:
“We are seeing defections happening in areas where we don’t generally see them, for example crossing the DMZ,” said Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, the top U.S. commander in South Korea, referring to the demilitarized zone that divides the Korean peninsula.
“We’re seeing some increase in executions, mostly against political officers who are in military units, for corruption,” the general said. He said the moves “are really about trying to clamp down as much as possible on something that might be deteriorating and keeping it from deteriorating too quickly.”
Others have no noticed “signs of stress” within everyday life of North Korea:
Senior South Korean officials and foreign diplomats in Pyongyang say they have yet to see indicators of instability in everyday life inside the country, but point to signs of stress. North Korean laborers are being sent home in large numbers from overseas work postings, for example, crimping the country’s supply of hard currency and leading to fluctuations in the exchange rate, they say.
In addition, propaganda directed at the North Korean public also points to anxiety about the likely impact of sanctions. Mr. Kim in his New Year speech this month acknowledged that the economy faced “unprecedented impediments” in 2017.
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“Experts have detailed other signs that North Korea’s military has some turmoil in it, especially when it comes to the defections”
What would we do without experts?
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