Sanctions must not stopNorth Korea is taking little action toward denuclearization and is becoming less willing to talk to the United States and South Korea, a dramatic change to its reconciliatory and civil tone.
An editorial in the Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the North Korean ruling party, slammed Moon for “talking as if he is a judge” for urging leaders of North Korea and the United States to live up to the promises they made at their summit meeting in Singapore, and added that they would face severe judgment from international society if they break their word.
The paper derided Moon for claiming to take the wheel on inter-Korean affairs, saying “he does not even make a good assistant in the passenger seat, let alone a driver.”
Pyongyang also may have turned hostile in response to continued sanctions against it, despite its reconciliatory gestures. The U.S. remains firm on sanctions. The State Department warned that Washington would be ready to take unilateral punitive actions against the North Korean regime. The comment comes after Seoul authorities admitted that ships carrying thousands of tons of North Korean coal made stops at the South Korean ports of Incheon and Pohang in October last year after the coal was unloaded and reloaded under different national flags.
The same ships that violated the UN resolution passed through South Korean waters this week as well, raising suspicion about South
Korea’s commitment to sanctions on North Korean minerals. Chinese visitors to North Korea this month are reportedly averaging 1,000 a day, 10 times more than two months ago. This suggests Beijing has eased border control and sanctions on North Korea after its leader Kim Jong-un visited China and met with Chinese President Xi Jinping three times since March.
Trump’s erratic strategy has not helped. He earlier vowed to denuclearize North Korea within two years. Now, he says there is no time limit.
International society must reconfirm its unwavering stance on sanctions and dialogue to solve the North Korean nuclear problem. According to the Bank of Korea, the North Korea economy contracted 3.5 percent last year. The sanctions are working.
JoongAng Ilbo, July 21, Page 34