North Korea Sanctions: Brace For 'Worst Case Scenario'

Frederick Owens
September 13, 2017

But FireEye points out that hackers can swap them into other, more anonymous cryptocurrencies - or move them elsewhere and eventually withdraw them in traditional currencies like South Korean won or US dollars.

South Korean officials had previously warned about the possibility of another intercontinental ballistic missile launch by the North, as a reaction to the United Nations sanctions and further escalation of the rigidity and anxiety with the US.

The United States and China "have two fundamentally different purposes", said Joseph Cirincione, president of the Plowshares Fund, a San Francisco-based organization that promotes nuclear nonproliferation.

The U.N. Security Council is stepping up the pressure on North Korea.

"Without holding the key to the DPRK's security concerns, China has no leverage to convince this foreign nation to stop its nuclear program", Fu Ying, chairwoman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of China's legislature, wrote in a May paper for the Brookings Institution, using the initials for North Korea's formal name.

"The world will see how the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) is arming the American guerrillas by taking a series of measures stronger than they imagined", he said.

Russian Federation had condemned the idea of tightening sanctions on North Korea without any political push to resolve the crisis.

"We called on the relevant parties to work with China to push for dialogue and negotiation and make joint efforts to realize peace and stability on the Peninsula", he said. "They'll eat grass, but they won't abandon their program unless they feel secure".

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Pyongyang said it "categorically rejected" what it called an "illegal" resolution.

China's foreign ministry said on Tuesday that North Korea had "ignored worldwide opposition and once again conducted a nuclear test, severely violating UN Security Council resolutions". The new watered-down sanctions resolution is also set to ban all textile exports, the main source of hard currency for North Korea.

Instead, said Koh of Dongguk University, the new sanctions will drive Pyongyang to accelerate its programmes.

The original US draft would also have frozen the assets of North Korea's state-owned airline Air Koryo, the Korean People's Army and five other powerful military and party entities.

The new worldwide pressure against North Korea has been triggered by its claimed test of a hydrogen bomb on September 3. But what Kim hopes to use bitcoin for is much more troublesome. It might take tactical nuclear weapons in South Korea - something President Moon Jae-in has opposed - to bring Kim to the negotiating table earlier, according to Lee Ho-ryung, chief of North Korean studies at the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses. "When competition to have better weapons escalates, it's always the poorer one who gives up".

The draft resolution includes a full ban on exports of oil to North Korea, a full ban on textile imports from North Korea, a ban on North Korean labourers generating earnings overseas, and the asset freeze, which will also target members of the ruling worker's party, the diplomat said, calling it a "hard-hitting, ambitious resolution", CNN reported.

FireEye suggested that the attacks were not the only link between North Korea and cryptocurrencies.

The revised resolution expresses the council's "determination to take further significant measures" in the event of a new nuclear test or ballistic missile launch.

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