Sanctions on North Korea

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Sanctions on North Korea - Good evening, everyone. As many of you may know, North Korea has developed over the years effective nuclear weapons and ballistic missile technology. This has ultimately led to international denunciation in the form of sanctions. I have brought you all here this evening to discuss the reasoning for sanctions currently placed on North Korea and their impacts along with how they tie into North Korean denuclearization. The UN Security Council has passed nine separate rounds of primarily trade and financial sanctions against North Korea after the countries first nuclear test in 2006 with the hopes to limit the development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missile technology. Above and beyond this, the United States has imposed serious economic sanctions as blunt instruments on North Korea in the effort of coercing them to reduce their military capacity and ultimately, denuclearize. South Korea, as well, has had sanctions imposed on North Korea since 2010 after a deadly attack on a South Korean naval vessel by North Korea. Along with these two countries, Japan has also placed sanctions on North Korea beginning in 2006. With all of these efforts intended to hurt North Korea's economy, they have been damaged to such an extent that may be hard to recover from in years to come. Tonight, we have with us three special guests that will share their concerns and positions on the topic at hand so by the end of the evening we can devise a plan to resolve the contention between all parties here tonight. We will hear from the United States President Donald Trump, leader of North Korea Kim Jong Un, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Let us first begin with United States leader Donald Trump.

Good evening, good evening. In all honesty, I am quite frankly not thrilled that I am here before all of you this evening. Believe me, I never imagined this meeting to ever need to take place. I truly thought after speaking with my good friend Kim multiple times that North Korea was indeed in the process of denuclearization. Hell, we practically wrote love letters back and forth. But now, the era of strategic patience is over (White House, 2017). We currently are imposing maximum pressure on North Korea through economic sanctions to reach the goal of the United States of the denuclearization of Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) or North Korea. Do note, however, that not in any way, shape or form does this involve or lead to a regime change. The stance of the United States on this issue at hand is that we have agreed to lift sanctions on North Korea once we have verifiably seen substantial evidence pointing towards complete denuclearization. However, the evidence never has come. In fact, we are seeing the opposite. Our intelligence agencies have discovered that North Korea is, in fact, building its military capabilities in secret with the denuclearization talks still taking place. This is really quite a shame. The United States never has wanted to enact massive sanctions on the country of North Korea, but we feel morally obligated for the safety of our people and our nation. In 2017, North Korea conducted multiple missile tests that demonstrated that they could indeed reach the United States with their missile weaponry today. We have implemented harsh economic sanctions on North Korea in the hopes to impose sufficient economic hardship so that North Korea adheres to this denuclearization. The sanctions are intended to intensify economic hardship on North Korea by reducing its production possibilities, decreasing its consumer surplus, and worsening its terms of trade. The sanctions are also intended to slash revenue used to finance North Korea's nuclear program (Bob Carbaugh and Koushik Ghosh). If the United States were to lift these sanctions, North Korea, with an economy able to function normally again, would more easily be able to invest millions of dollars into their nuclear development program. The main problem is, we simply do not trust them and their motives. China is really the only reason why North Korea is still afloat. They are currently North Korea's economic lifeline accounting for roughly 90% of foreign trade. The United States has thus gone to such lengths as to sanction some Chinese entities like banks and companies for supporting North Korea's weapon developments. To wrap this up in a timely manner, we do not trust North Korea so consequently, we do not have any intentions to lift sanctions unless complete denuclearization is accomplished.

Thank you, Mr. Trump. Next, we will hear from South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

Good evening. As you all know, my country borders North Korea and my people live on the same peninsula as those in the North. I am here tonight to argue that these sanctions have not been working as my country of South Korea would have liked. To provide some background, in 2010, my country imposed tremendously harsh sanctions on North Korea after one of our own Navy ships was shot down by North Korean militants. We banned all trade, travel, investments and exchanges with North Korea (NYT). However, over time these sanctions have shifted in their purpose. They have been in place to coerce the North to denuclearize and hopefully, lead to the reunification of the peninsula. But these sanctions have not been able to achieve this goal that has been long sought after by not only my country, but the United States as well. A report written by the MIT Security Studies Program reveals that sanctions have simply not worked but instead have had the net effect of actually improving DPRK procurement capabilities. At this point in time, I believe my country would better benefit from diplomatic breakthroughs and relations which could only stem from the removal of such sanctions. I have campaigned with calls for peace talks because of this. I, as the leader of South Korea, have hopes that progress in nuclear diplomacy will allow advancements for engagement with our neighbor, North Korea, including joint economic projects and reconnecting inter-Korean roads and railways. These projects have not been a very plausible possibility due to our sanctions against North Korea (CBS). It is important for the US to know that my country has stayed firm on sanctions but at the same time, I have been contemplating the possibility of investments and joint economic projects in return for the North's relinquishment of its nuclear weapons (CBS). We as a country are now seeking to take a more conciliatory approach by attempting to expand bilateral exchanges as a more effective mean to future peaceful relations with our neighbor state, North Korea (Council on Foreign Relations). While these may be our hopes, we are currently in a position where we can do little to nothing without Washington's approval.

Thank you, President Moon Jae-in. Lastly, we will hear from the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Un.

Good evening, my esteemed guests. I won't take long to speak for my people. I begin tonight by sharing some statistics with you. My country's real GDP increased by under 1% a year from 2013 to 2016 while its GDP per capita fell from around $1,800 to $1,700 (in US dollars). In 2017, my country's real GDP fell by roughly 2% (Bob Carbaugh and Koushik Ghosh). As of 2018, it is expected to decline more. According to data my analysts retrieved from the United States CIA, the unemployment rate in my country is over 25%. Sanctions have been taking a significant toll on my country's economy. We have grown increasingly isolated from the world market and my people are suffering from unequal economic opportunity. I will tell you that my country believes - no, no - my country knows that the acquisition of nuclear weapons is the sole mean to guarantee our survival in this world. It is the only means of power that we have and without it, we will fall victim to exploitation from foreign powers such as the United States and Europe. It is the only thing still keeping us on the map. I have two questions for you all to ponder. First, would the United States ever attack a country with nuclear weapons at the ready? It is essentially common sense that they won't knowing the potency that these weapons possess today and the potentially drastic effects that escalation of the situation could lead to. Second and most importantly, how can we fully trust a country such as the United States who has had a history of overtaking and exploiting developing countries, ultimately leading to the imposition of western ideology and practices on the people who reside there? I don't believe it is possible. For this reason, my country will not denuclearize unless under extraordinary circumstances.

Thank you, Mr. Kim Jong Un. That will wrap up our speakers for this evening.

Now, let's get straight to business. As the mediator, I will help to frame a plan going forward that will help to take steps towards solving the concerns of all parties at this international table. For now, let's consider an option that could pave the way for increased international cooperation and relations in the future. I first propose that the United States and South Korea ease some sanctions to show that you both are willing to make sacrifices in order to improve relations and ties with North Korea - they could be a prospective ally with both states in the near future and could be a great benefactor to assist with gaining leverage in the East. By doing so, it would demonstrate to North Korea that you both are willing to take necessary steps for even the possibility of normalizing relations. I believe it is a risk worth taking and I hope you two see it the same way. At the current rate, all three countries will be locked in a stalemate with no way out for years to come unless someone moves first. Trump, I am ultimately asking you to be the bigger man. Everyone knows you along with Washington D.C. hold a leash on South Korea so you must consequently be the first to act. It would hopefully help spark North Korea to gain trust and slowly become less dependent on their nuclear program for international safety and security. Gaining trust is key in this standoff. With all this said and done, North Korea, it is essential that you be willing to trust these prospective future allies if they are willing to take such steps towards increased relations. It is only in your best interest to increase trust and ties with these countries as they can help reestablish and in the future, promote future economic prosperity for your country. The United States would ideally lift some economic sanctions giving your country more room to breath allowing the economy to revive and regenerate what all has been set back and lost. Not to mention, your increased ties with South Korea could unite the peninsula fostering a prospering economic market intertwining both countries and their resources (NYT). This would be a good starting point but it is in no way the absolute answer to all of the problems surfaced tonight. My hope is that it may spark the process of ushering in an era of increased cooperation and diplomacy between the United States, South Korea, and North Korea. I ask you three to take this plan into consideration - not only to mitigate and ultimately, eliminate existing tensions but to pave the way for a collaborative future for generations to come.


Albert, Eleanor. What to Know About the Sanctions on North Korea. Council on Foreign Relations, Council on Foreign Relations, 3 Jan. 2018,

Carbaugh, Bob, and Koushik Ghosh. Economic Sanctions and North Korea. The American Economist, 2018, p. 056943451880801., doi:10.1177/0569434518808016.

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Emma Chanlett-Avery - Coordinator Specialist in Asian Affairs, Mark E. Manyin - Specialist in Asian Affairs, Mary Beth D. Nikitin - Specialist in Nonproliferation, Caitlin Elizabeth Campbell - Analyst in Asian Security Issues, Wil Mackey - Research Assistant. North Korea: U.S. Relations, Nuclear Diplomacy, and Internal Situation. Congressional Research Service, 2018, pp. 138.

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John Park, Harvard University and Jim Walsh, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Stopping North Korea, Inc.: Sanctions Effectiveness and Unintended Consequences. MIT Security Studies Program. Cambridge, MA. August, 2016. Print. Under Pressure, South Korea Backs off Talk of Easing Sanctions on North. CBS News, CBS Interactive, 11 Oct. 2018,

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Remarks by the Vice President and South Korean Acting President Hwang at a Joint Press Statement. April 17. Seoul.

The World Factbook - Central Intelligence Agency, Central Intelligence Agency, 1 Feb. 2018,

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