Is North Korea Intentionally Seeking Sanctions?

North Korean leaders must think that what ever does not kill you makes you stronger. That has probably never been applied to a nation before. However, the nation seems to seek out the pain of international sanctions. Some analysts think that it helps to cement the power of Kim Jong-Un. Others see it as a negotiating position to bring about the two party talks that it seeks.

Kim Jong Un

As Written By MASANORI YAMAKUCHI, Nikkei online news deputy editor.

North Korea sees advantages in further isolation.

TOKYO — The international community has made concerted efforts to impose tougher sanctions on North Korea over its nuclear program.

The question is why the country’s leader has opted to take such action, which is bound to cause obvious outcomes: harsher sanctions followed by further international isolation.

To better understand Kim Jong Un’s seemingly reckless behavior, one must not only recognize the purpose of the country’s nuclear and missile development programs — a legacy from his late father Kim Jong Il and his grandfather Kim Il Sung. You also have to understand the thinking behind North Korea’s peculiar way of maintaining its regime.

Tougher U.N. action

The U.N. Security Council prepared a resolution calling for stronger penalties against North Korea than ever before, including an embargo on mineral exports and the supply of jet fuel. The new sanctions also include a mandatory inspection of all cargo going to and from the country.

Moreover, the latest resolution targets the transfer of any materials for military purposes and tightens restrictions on the regime’s ability to earn foreign currency.

It was particularly significant that China agreed to work with the U.S. in drafting the sanctions this time. An enduring ally of North Korea, Beijing had long been reluctant to economically squeeze its neighbor. In line with the agreement, however, China has moved to ban imports of coal and other minerals from North Korea even before the U.N. adopted the new resolution.

In early February, North Korea launched a rocket despite mounting criticism from the international community. (Yonhap/Kyodo)

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