Sanctioning North Korea

Press Release

Date: July 19, 2017
Location: Washington, DC

The Subcommittee on Monetary Policy and Trade held a hearing today to discuss restricting North Korea's access to financial services and examine ways to increase the ability of foreign countries to enforce North Korean sanctions.

"Hovering over today's hearing was not only a sense of urgency, but disappointment in years of misguided assumptions about the North's behavior and vulnerability to pressure," said Subcommittee Chairman Andy Barr (R-KY). "If we are to change North Korea's calculations, we must confront why economic sanctions have failed and adapt our policies accordingly. To protect our homeland and our allies, now is the time to cut off the North's resources and deprive it of the means to further develop its nuclear and missile technologies."

Key Takeaways from the Hearing

The U.S. should expand secondary sanctions on Chinese entities in order to raise the costs of Beijing's economic lifeline to North Korea.
Existing UN sanctions must be enforced more effectively in order to limit North Korean access to foreign banks and cut off illicit trade. The U.S. should support technical assistance that increases countries' ability to administer these sanctions, and consider suspending aid to governments that help North Korea evade UN embargoes.
Topline Quotes from Witnesses

"A bipartisan group of experts has recommended that targeting China's role in Pyongyang's sanctions evasion is essential to change the Kim regime's calculus. The Trump administration should sanction elements of the network, preferably with near simultaneity for maximum effect. Chinese entities and individuals are at the heart of this network and Beijing will object to the sanctions, but the time for accepting China's excuses is over." -- Anthony Ruggiero, Senior Fellow, Foundation for Defense of Democracies

"If one were to view sanctions as the antibiotics in the U.S. national security toolkit, increasing the dosage on the North Korean regime has triggered, in some instances, the development of drug-resistance. This resistance is in the form of alternative, more effective commercial channels. We need to better target sanctions and strengthen law enforcement and other measures, based on an improved understanding of how North Korea, Inc. has devised innovative techniques to evade them." -- Dr. John Park, Director, Korea Working Group, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

"The U.S. acting in coordination with like-minded countries can do so much more to improve enforcement of existing UN sanctions." -- William Newcomb, Visiting Scholar, U.S.-Korea Institute, School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University