Sanctions Hitting North Korea Hard as Trump Tours Asia
Matthew Little, 9 Nov 17

This undated picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Nov. 4, 2017 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un visiting the March 16 factory at an undisclosed place. Unprecedented sanctions have crippled the North Korean economy and could intensify, said a senior White House official. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Sanctions currently crippling the North Korean economy could intensify if President Donald Trump succeeds in achieving one of the overarching goals of his current trip through several Asian countries.

The U.S. president’s top priority during his current Asia tour is to strengthen international resolve to denuclearize North Korea, a senior White House official told reporters on Nov. 5.

Trump will urge the Chinese regime to go beyond fulfilling its U.N. Security Council resolution obligations with North Korea when he arrives there on Wednesday, Oct. 8. Reports that China is already ejecting North Korean workers ahead of a 120-day U.N. deadline indicate this could already be happening.

China’s cooperation with the sanctions is seen as critical to ensuring they have an impact.

North Korea—which has been considered very resilient to international trade sanctions—has complained bitterly about its reduced trade and capital flows.

KCNA, one of the regime’s official news agencies, reported on the regime’s efforts to appeal to the United Nations about the sanctions on Nov. 5.

The regime mouthpiece described the “brutal sanctions” as “genocide.”

Without naming a specific country, the regime said the sanctions were condemned by the international community because they threatened the “the enjoyment by the people of DPRK of their human rights in all sectors.”

The regime, which has been a recipient of foreign aid throughout its existence, complained that the sanctions had thwarted international humanitarian organizations active in the country.

According to North Korean defectors, however, aid to North Korea has given the regime more resources to pursue its Songun—“military first”—policy, which sees it prioritize military capability over any other international or domestic concern—including feeding its citizens.

Some defectors from North Korea have advocated that the only foreign aid that should be sent to North Korea is animal-grade feedstock.

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