Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Economic Sanctions during Humanitarian Emergencies: The Case of North Korea

Noland, Marcus and Haggard, Stephan (2023): Economic Sanctions during Humanitarian Emergencies: The Case of North Korea. Published in: Asia Pacific Issues No. 157 (6 January 2023)

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North Korea is experiencing yet another cycle of humanitarian distress. While sanctions are not the primary cause, they are a contributing factor. This essay examines the channels through which sanctions affect the North Korean economy and reaches four conclusions: First, sanctions have contributed to a deterioration of economic performance. Second, the UNSC’s 1718 Sanctions Committee should consider a thorough review to identify goods that would warrant blanket humanitarian exemptions or removal from the sanctions lists altogether. Third, financial sanctions have raised the risk premium on all financial transactions with North Korea; the sanctioning authorities need to do a better job of clarifying transactions permissible under humanitarian exemptions. Finally, while the global community should reassess its policies, the government of North Korea bears responsibility as well. The benefits of sanctions relief will be diminished if North Korea refuses to engage constructively with the international community on a broader range of issues running from basic humanitarian relief to economic reform.

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