Last Wednesday, the United States Treasury added to its economic pressure campaign against North Korea, sanctioning a variety of entities the Kim regime uses to evade international, multilateral sanctions. In announcing moves against these targets on January 24, the Treasury Department said that “[t]oday’s sanctions target agents of the Kim regime financing or otherwise supporting North Korea’s WMD programs and other illicit businesses.”
While the administration and its allies in the region have relied on military deterrence and ratcheting up of sanctions, there is a missing component: a concerted international effort to roll back North Korea’s abuse of the global financial system to aid in the procurement of weapons of mass destruction, which those who study the issue call countering proliferation finance (CPF).
These new designations follow a number of high-profile cases underscoring how North Korea evades international sanctions. At the end of 2017, South Korean authorities announced that they had seized a Panamanian-flagged oil tanker suspected of transferring oil to North Korea, in violation of international sanctions designed to deter the country’s further pursuit of nuclear weapons capability. This is the second such seizure since November 2017 and underlines the sophistication of North Korea’s proliferation networks. While many states have engaged in transnational financial criminal behavior — money laundering and sanctions evasion — the threat emanating from North Korea is unique. Its ability to exploit weak spots in the global financial regulatory and nuclear nonproliferation regimes is unparalleled.
Read the full op-ed in The Diplomat.
More from CNAS
CommentaryA Council of Democracies Can Save Multilateralism
The world desperately needs a new institution that is both global in reach and unified in vision....
By Edward Fishman & Siddharth Mohandas
CommentarySharper: Global Coronavirus Response
Analysis from CNAS experts on the most critical challenges in U.S. foreign policy....
By Chris Estep & Cole Stevens
CommentaryHow U.S. Sanctions Depend on the Federal Reserve
Foreign policy professionals will have to understand what the Federal Reserve is doing and how it affects U.S. national security....
By Edoardo Saravalle
PodcastHow Sanctions Fail US Policymakers
Eddie Fishman, who worked in Obama's State Department's Policy Planning Staff, joins to discuss his recent articles on sanctions and the world order. Listen to the full conve...
By Edward Fishman