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North Korea sanctions usher in new era of tension

Friday, March 4, 2016

Significance

This signalled defiance of UN Security Council Resolution 2270, passed unanimously on March 2, which condemns Pyongyang's nuclear test on January 6 and its satellite launch (using ballistic missile technology) on February 7, imposes the toughest sanctions yet on the Kim regime.

Impacts

  • Whether the new sanctions are more effective than previous ones will take time to assess, and depends on interpretation and implementation.
  • Pyongyang's strategic direction may be clarified once the ruling party holds its first Congress for 35 years in May.
  • With China-North Korea ties icy, Russia will give Kim a degree of diplomatic cover.
  • South Korea's new hard line is bipartisan; even most liberals no longer support a 'sunshine' policy.
  • Any eventual return to diplomacy may have to await new leaders in Washington in 2017 and Seoul from February 2018.

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