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对朝非法贸易影响制裁效果 North Korea Sanctions Impact Mitigated By Illicit Trade












It is difficult to gauge the impact of the increased sanctions imposed on North Korea, with reports of both plummeting exports in the last year and increasing illicit trade of banned minerals and arms.

U.S. President Donald Trump's “maximum pressure” strategy aims to increase sanctions on North Korea and force the Kim Jong Un government to seek relief by agreeing to give up its threatening nuclear weapons and ballistic missile program, or face increasing hardship and possible collapse from within. If sanctions fail to end the North Korean nuclear threat, the Trump administration has emphasized it is prepared to use military force, as well.

The latest U.S.-led round of sanctions at the United Nations Security Council, which were imposed in August and September of 2017, produced a total export ban on North Korea's $3 billion coal and other mineral industries, its $800 million clothing manufacturing output, and its lucrative seafood industry, as well as cutting oil imports by a third.

China, which accounts for over 90 percent of North Korea's total trade, reported a 37 percent drop in exports from the North in 2017 as a result of the sanctions. If fully enforced, the restrictions would cut the North's exports by 90 percent in 2018, a loss estimated to be worth $2.3 billion. Independent media reports have confirmed significantly reduced trade and business activity in Dandong, the Chinese border city where most trade with North Korea occurs.

A number of Chinese banks have also reportedly restricted North Korea financial activities, in compliance with U.N. sanctions, which is rapidly reducing Pyongyang's foreign currency reserves.

There are concerns that China, Russia and other counties are illicitly bolstering the North Korean economy through the smuggling of banned commodities, along with arms and chemical weapons sales, and cyber attacks.

Portions of a confidential United Nations report that was recently made public said North Korea earned close to $200 million from exporting coal and other banned commodities last year by using false documents and complicit foreign companies in China, Malaysia, Russia and Vietnam.

While Beijing and Moscow voted in favor of imposing tough sanctions on North Korea in the Security Council, both also want to maintain economic and political stability on the Korean Peninsula, and have called for increased negotiations to peacefully resolve the nuclear stand-off.

There have been reports that Russia is becoming a new transit hub for banned North Korean coal to compensate for the export ban in China. Moscow and Pyongyang have denied these illicit coal trade accusations. Even if true, Russia accounts for only 2 percent of North Korea's trade.

In recent months Japan also reported four suspected illegal transfers at sea between sanctioned North Korean vessels and international ships that were witnessed by surveillance aircraft.

The U.S. in February issued new unilateral sanctions on companies and vessels linked to North Korean shipping to restrict illicit ship- to-ship transfers. Washington tried to include forced maritime interceptions of North Korean vessels in the last round of U.N. sanctions but could not convince Chins and Russia to agree.