A brief history of US economic warfare against North Korea

The breadth and depth of US economic warfare against North Korea can be summed up in two brief sentences:

• North Korea is “the most sanctioned nation in the world” — George W. Bush
•“There are few sanctions left to apply.” – The New York Times

From the moment it imposed a total embargo on exports to North Korea three days after the Korean War began in June 1950, the United States has maintained an uninterrupted regimen of economic, financial, and diplomatic sanctions against North Korea. These include:
o Limits on the export of goods and services.
o Prohibition of most foreign aid and agricultural sales.
o A ban on Export-Import Bank funding.
o Denial of favorable trade terms.
o Prohibition of imports from North Korea.
o Blocking of any loan or funding through international financial institutions.
o Limits on export licensing of food and medicine for export to North Korea.
o A ban on government financing of food and medicine exports to North Korea.
o Prohibition on import and export transactions related to transportation.
o A ban on dual-use exports (i.e., civilian goods that could be adapted to military purposes.)
o Prohibition on certain commercial banking transactions.

In recent years, US sanctions have been complemented by “efforts to freeze assets and cut off financial flows” by blocking banks that deal with North Korean companies from access to the US banking system. The intended effect is to make North Korea a banking pariah that no bank in the world will touch. Former US president George W. Bush was “determined to squeeze North Korea with every financial sanction possible” until its
economy collapsed. The Obama administration has not departed from the Bush policies.

Washington has also acted to sharpen the bite of sanctions, pressing other countries to join its campaign of economic warfare. This has included the sponsoring of a United Nations Security Council resolution compelling all nations to refrain for exporting dual-use items to North Korea (a repeat of the sanctions regime that led to the crumbling of Iraq’s healthcare system in the 1990s.) Washington has also pressured China (unsuccessfully) to cut off North Korea’s supply of oil.

[Excerpt of article by Stephen Gowans]

One thought on “A brief history of US economic warfare against North Korea

  1. Pingback: The effect of sanctions on North Korea | North Korea Refugees

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