US, Allies Levy New Sanctions on Top North Korean Officials

    Photo: aljazeera

    The Facts

    • The US, South Korea, and Japan on Friday placed sanctions on several top North Korean officials, including three who are part of leader Kim Jong-un’s regime, for allegedly participating in illegal activities related to the North's nuclear weapons program.

    • This latest round of sanctions serves as a response to North Korea’s Nov. 18 intercontinental ballistic missile test, as well as worries that the North might resume its nuclear weapons testing program. Pyongyang's nuclear testing program has been suspended since 2017.

    The Spin

    Pro-establishment narrative

    For too long, North Korea has been skating along while facing uncoordinated sanctions that have had little impact. Pyongyang has also been avoiding more severe punishments from the UN Security Council because of objections from Russia and China. By working together, the US and its allies should inflict more pain on North Korea, which must also worry about more coordinated sanctions being on the way.

    Establishment-critical narrative

    The US and its allies keep playing this cat-and-mouse game with North Korea, yet Pyongyang is already under heavy sanctions and its behavior hasn’t changed. All this does is increase tensions on the peninsula. The US must change its approach to getting the North to denuclearize if it wants different results.

    Nerd narrative

    There’s a 30% chance that North Korea will possess enough fissile material to make at least 100 warheads by 2024, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

    Establishment split



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