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VOA – US experts say, “The gap between sanctions against North Korea still remains…Strengthening verification of implementation, cooperation with third countries is necessary”

Experts in the United States said that there is still a gap in the enforcement of sanctions against North Korea, and suggested supplementing the current sanctions framework and strengthening verification of implementation. It also emphasized cooperation with the international community, such as strengthening cooperation with third countries. Reporter Da-gyeom Ji reports. 

Andrea Mihalescu, former senior adviser in charge of sanctions against North Korea at the State Department, said at a video event hosted by George Washington University on the 13th that there is still a “blank” in the enforcement of sanctions against North Korea. 

[Recording: Former Senior Advisor Mihalescu] “I am highlighting that there are sanctions gaps. And we like to think about what more can we sanction on North Korea and what other targets are there that we can go after.” 

Former senior advisor of Mihalesku estimated that up to tens of millions of dollars would have been invested in the fever ceremony held by North Korea on the 10th to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Labor Party, and there were many cases of sanctions violations within the fever ceremony aired by the North Korean state-run Chosun Central Broadcasting. I explained that it was captured.

On the screen of a fever-type broadcast, the images of flat-screen TVs, Japanese company Canon’s cameras, and a number of high-tech shooting equipment, were seen as luxury goods by the UN Security Council and banned from being exported to North Korea. 

In addition, he added that North Korea has purchased about US$600,000 worth of white horses from Russia over the past few years, and that the process of purchasing white horses such as payment of dollars, even if they are not subject to sanctions, could be a violation of sanctions. 

Former senior advisor of Mihalescu said that we need to devise a way to complement the limitations of the existing sanctions framework against North Korea, and that we must consider what can be added to sanctions against North Korea in the future and what targets can be tracked to detect sanctions violations.   

North Korean Economic Forum
Sanction experts speak at the North Korean Economic Forum hosted by George Washington University.

Former State Department Senior Advisor David Asher, who led the sanctions of Banco Delta Asia (BDA) Bank in Macau, noted that North Korea is evading the sanctions based on a’octopus expression’ network using camouflage companies from third countries. .

Former Senior Advisor Asher pointed out that many of the numerous companies involved in the network are still subject to sanctions and prosecution against North Korea. 

He also explained that the illegal activities in North Korea cannot be prevented simply by imposing sanctions and prosecuting sanctions violators by the US judicial authorities, and that the sanctioned people simply change their company name and continue their business. 

[Recording: Former Senior Advisor Asher] “The point is it is just huge, and it doesn’t mean the North Koreans are invincible. But what we need is a sanctions verification and compliance effort that is equivalent to what we do an arms control with like nuclear weapons treaties and things. We’ve got to get ahead of it.” 

Former Senior Advisor Asher stressed that in order to prevent North Korea from evading sanctions, it is necessary to verify and comply with sanctions at the same level as the armament control through nuclear weapons agreements.  

In addition, he said that the imposition of sanctions alone cannot lead to business closure without’complete’ cooperation from foreign governments, and that the greatest pressure can be embodied when there are multi-level cooperation between US ministries as well as international social efforts.

[Recording: Former Senior Advisor Asher] “It (maximum pressure) really is an across the board, multi-level interagency and international effort to go after North Korea’s access to money and the modalities generated.”

Neil Watts, a former member of the UN Sanctions Committee’s expert panel, pointed out that the US administration’s own financial sanctions, such as secondary boycotts, or third-party sanctions, cannot produce the greatest pressure. 

Companies that are subject to sanctions against North Korea are avoiding sanctions by easily establishing new companies or by purchasing off-the-shelf companies among established companies to continue their business.  

Former Commissioner Watts compared the current situation to the “Whac-A-Mole activity,” and explained that imposing sanctions against North Korea on companies involved in illegal activities will result in the establishment of a new business entity and another problem. 

[Recording: Former Watts Commissioner] “So, I would say it is difficult to maintain maximum pressure just from one side. I think global events right now undermine the maximum pressure campaign because maximum pressure has to be maintained from all angles and from all countries.”  

Former Commissioner Watts stressed that it is difficult to maintain maximum pressure on North Korea through the efforts of the US administration alone. 

Therefore, the highest pressure on North Korea should be maintained in all areas and countries, but the lack of participation from Russia and China and the movement to ease sanctions has weakened the campaign against the highest pressure on the international stage, Watts pointed out. 

Former State Department Senior Advisor Asher said there was a need to stop North Korea’s sanction-avoidance activities. Said it would be necessary. 

This is Da-gyeom Ji from VOA News.

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