North Korea panics as sanctions start to take their toll

By Ryan Pickrell, DCNF DCNF

North Korea appears to be panicking as the international community tightens the noose with tough, crippling sanctions.

“The U.S.-led racket of brutal sanctions and pressure against the DPRK constitutes contemporary human rights violation and genocide,” the North Korean mission to the United Nations in Geneva said in a statement, according to Reuters.

Sanctions “threaten and impede the enjoyment by the people of the DPRK of their human rights in all sectors,” the North Korean mission argued. “All types of anti-human rights and inhumane sanctions against the DPRK should be terminated immediately and thoroughly.”

In response to North Korea’s tests of an intercontinental ballistic missile, the firing of missiles over Japan into the Pacific, and a test of a suspected staged thermonuclear device, the United Nations has imposed the toughest sanctions ever on the North, crippling both exports and imports. The U.S. has also imposed unilateral sanctions on the regime, increasing the pressure.

Much to Pyongyang’s dismay, China has also taken steps to punish North Korea for its reckless behavior, cutting mineral imports, restricting fuel exports, ordering financial institutions to sever ties, forcing laborers out, and closing down North Korean businesses. There is still more that China can do to exert pressure on the regime, but the steps that have been taken thus far are definitely steps in the right direction.

While North Korea has dealt with sanctions for years, it has never faced challenges like that which it now struggles against.

“I don’t know if North Korea will survive a year [under] sanctions,” Ri Jong Ho, a former North Korean official previously tasked with managing the regime’s finances, revealed at a recent conference. “The sanctions that the White House has imposed on North Korea are of a historic level … Never before has the country faced such tough sanctions.”

The most recent statement by the North Korea mission to the United Nations is not the first time the regime has railed against the sanctions against it. In fact, such complaints are becoming commonplace as the North starts to feel the pressure.

The sanctions are “a brutal criminal act that indiscriminately infringes upon the right to existence of the peaceful civilians,” a spokesman of the new Sanctions Damage Investigation Committee said in a statement in late September. “The colossal amount of damage caused by these sanctions to the development of our state and the people’s livelihood is beyond anyone’s calculation.”

The North, however, refuses to abandon its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons development programs. While it’s people starve, North Korea invests around one-fourth of its GDP in its defense programs.

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