North Korea shock warning: Sanctions could make Kim Jong-un ‘go out in a BLAZE OF GLORY’

Friday, January 26, 2018
By Paul Martin

EXCLUSIVE: NORTH Korea is suffering under the extreme weight of international sanctions – but rather than forcing leader Kim Jong-Un to the negotiating table, he could choose to “go out in a blaze of glory”, an expert has warned.

Fri, Jan 26, 2018

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told an event at Stanford University early this month that the rogue nation was “really starting to hurt” as a result of the measures, which are aimed at denying it the raw material it needs to carry on with its nuclear weapons programme.

And Joseph DeThomas, a former US Ambassador and authority on North Korean affairs, agrees, but with some caveats.

Mr DeThomas, a regular contributor to the 38 North website which monitors North Korean activities, said: “In an economic sense, he is correct. “It appears that the sanctions are reducing North Korea’s exports of sanctioned commodities like coal and minerals.

“This will negatively affect the regime’s supply of hard currency and it will hurt the DPRK.

“This does not mean the sanctions are causing the regime to change policy.”

During his speech, Mr Tillerson cited anecdotal evidence suggesting the pressure the regime was feeling, but Mr DeThomas said China was the best place to look for compelling proof.

He said: “Since the overwhelming bulk of North Korea’s trade is with China, the place to look is Chinese trade statistics.

“This is the best source of data. These statistics do seem to show a significant drop off in exports.

“The other place to look is on any reporting from China, Russia or the Middle East on the replacement of North Korean workers.”

Mr DeThomas sounded a note of caution about the often-stated hope that the sanctions would eventually force Kim to agree to talks aimed at Persuading him to abandon North Korea’s efforts to develop nuclear weapons.

He said: “The objective of the sanctions is to put so much pain on the North Korean elite that Kim will be forced either to change policy and negotiate or to face an internal revolt of the elite.

“However, the regime might make other choices either to suppress dissent or to transfer resources from non-elites to the elites and allow the general population to face the pain of sanctions.

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