Arthur Cyr: International leverage isolates North Korea

Mary Altaffer, AP

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, right, speaks to South Korean Ambassador to the United Nations Cho Tae-yul before a Security Council vote on a new sanctions resolution that would increase economic pressure on North Korea to return to negotiations on its missile program, Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017 at U.N. headquarters.

The United Nations Security Council has imposed strong new economic sanctions on North Korea, notable for the unqualified participation of China. Previous Chinese government reluctance to participate was not publicly in evidence this time. South Korea has also been an active participant. That is important in a complex diplomatic duel with the north, which has nuclear military as well as economic dimensions.

Ambassador Nikki Haley, the top United States representative to the world organization, was publicly visible in actively negotiating with China’s Permanent Representative Liu Jieyi. Presumably, this is the tip of a varied array of private interchange and negotiation. President Donald Trump appropriately tweeted praise for the support of Russia as well as China in the vote and noted, “Very big financial impact!”

The new sanctions under Resolution 2371 impose a total ban on North Korea’s exports of coal, in addition to iron, lead and seafood. Travel is banned and assets frozen for 14 officials and four entities. This significantly ratchets up pressure on Pyongyang, which relies increasingly on black markets for desperately needed money. Monitoring and enforcement of a total ban will be easier.

Beyond Pyongyang’s fanatical and apocalyptic rhetoric, evidence is apparent that the regime is feeling the great long-term strain. From May 6 to May 9, 2016, North Korea held a Communist Party Congress. Tight security control of the enormous choreographed show was utterly self-evident. The last such party…

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