For the past two decades, the UNSCR economic sanctions regime has been ineffective in denuclearizing North Korea. First, China is indecisive and cautious in using the sanctions regime due to its own national security interests.  Second, the US and other UN member states have little to no economic leverage over North Korea due to their long-imposed unilateral or multilateral sanctions. Third, application of the sanctions regime relies predominantly on voluntarism and could be costly to some countries. Finally North Korea, now accustomed to decades-long sanctions, has established creative ways to circumvent the sanctions regime. Without the lifting of economic sanctions, normalization with the United States or an offer of a peace treaty to guarantee its national security, there is little incentive for North Korea to either renounce its nuclear program or abandon its military-first economic policy.

Read “The Effectiveness of Economic Sanctions on North Korea,” by Han May Chan

Han May Chan is a second-year M.A. student at SAIS, concentrating in China Studies and International Economics at SAIS.  She has interned with the US Department of State’s Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Press Office and at the US Consulate General Shenyang Consular Affairs Section.  She received her B.A. in Chinese and East Asian Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2010.  Her current research interests include the political, economic, social, and cultural developments of East Asia and US-East Asian relations.

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