For seven years the U.N. sanctions against North Korea have not deterred Pyongyang’s ambitions for nuclear weapons capable of reaching the United States, but in a way may have helped the Kim family through their propaganda to increase anti-U.S. sentiment and draw attention away from the failed government. The question on everyone’s mind is whether the new sanction passed on Thursday for North Korea’s latest nuclear test will end up any different than in the past. Since 2006, North Korea has conducted long range weapons test and underground nuclear test with the latest one being Feb. 12, even though several penalties from the U.N. and national sanctions from Washington, Tokyo, and others have been passed in order to curb their nuclear ambitions. According to analysts, the problem with sanctions is that outsiders are underestimating North Korea’s ability to survive even though the sanctions are meant to make life difficult for the country which is already dealing with poverty, suffered through a famine, and lost its Soviet supporter but still manages to get the upper hand. While the state media has yet to announce the sanctions, North Korean citizens share the same attitude as their leader by defying and dismissing past sanctions which only helps to strengthen the regime.
The U.N. resolution passed on Thursday will target the ruling class of North Korea through banning nations from exporting expensive jewelry, yachts, luxury automobiles and race cars to the North plus imposes new travel sanctions requiring countries to expel agents working in certain North Korean companies, according to the Associated Press. The U.N. believes that these sanctions will send a powerful message to North Korea, but some believe that they may also play into Kim Jong Un’s hands, according to Ahn Chan-il a political scientist at the World Institute for North Korea Studies in Seoul, as the outside chooses to punish North Korea that would allow Kim to build a powerful image like his father Kim Jong Il. The U.N. Security Council issued the resolution in direct reaction of Pyongyang conducting nuclear and missile testing which they considered a threat to international peace and stability. North Korea called the measure a double standard blaming the U.S. for the sanction and after the vote that passed the sanction North Korea states that they were canceling a hotline and a nonaggression pact with rival South Korea which has ended the armistice set about by the Korean War. Unfortunately the sanctions are not a perfect punishment as not only will the leadership pay but the average North Korean who is already facing economic difficulties which is pushing the country to a us against the world mentality.
Unfortunately, the only foreseeable problem is China, North Korea’s economic lifeline, which provides almost all the oil for the country as well as a generous amount of food aid. Their dependency has increased as the sanctions have with 95 percent of the products an estimated $3.5 billion imported to North Korean being from China in 2012 according to the International Trade Centre. The fact that Beijing is now supporting the new sanction could be a sign of growing frustration with its neighbor and ally, but the likelihood that China would dramatically change course by enforcing the U.N. resolution even though in the past it has not is relatively slim according to Marcus Noland, a North Korean watcher at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, said in an institute blog post. China has in the past been wary of putting pressure on Pyongyang for fear the government would collapses causing North Koreans to come into China leading to a loss of buffer against U.S. allied South Korea according to the Associated Press.