UN resolution to deal heavy blow to N. Korea, economic zone won’t work: analysts

By Deng Xiaoci Source:Global Times Published: 2017/12/24 23:18:39

High time for NK to return to negotiation table now: experts

The newly adopted UN resolution that slashes North Korea's petroleum supply by up to 90 percent will deal a significant political and economic blow to Pyongyang, experts said on Sunday, but negotiations remain the best solution to the crisis.

The UN Security Council unanimously approved tough new sanctions against North Korea on Friday in response to its intercontinental ballistic missile launch of November.

"The crude oil embargo literally touches the threshold of North Korean people's livelihoods, hitting Pyongyang hard in both the political and economical dimensions," Lü Chao, a research fellow on North Korea with the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Sunday.

Backed by all 15 Security Council members and drafted by the US, UN Resolution 2397 cuts nearly 90 percent of refined petroleum exports to North Korea by capping them at 500,000 barrels a year and demanding the repatriation of North Koreans working overseas within 24 months.

Nearly 80 percent of North Korean refined oil comes from China's crude oil supply, Lü explained, "and the rest mainly comes from Russia and the Middle Eastern nations."

The oil cut could also hurt the country's militarization and so it is high time Pyongyang seriously consider going back to the negotiating table, said Zhang Huizhi, a professor with Northeast Asian Studies College at Jilin University.

There are nearly 100,000 overseas North Korean workers: about 50,000 in China and 30,000 in Russia, the Washington Post reported on Friday, citing the US Mission to the UN.

Since the North Korean economy does not rely much on foreign trade and its social system has a resilient self-reliant character, the economic sanctions will hardly shake its economic foundations, Lü believed.

Such tough sanctions are not the sole or most effective solution to the crisis, he said. North Korea announced on Thursday that it will establish an economic development zone in its capital that will allowe foreign investment, North Korean official media Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported. Experts doubt the zone will attract any investment.

"Against the backdrop of sanctions, the new economy should not be focused on attracting foreign investment, but rather attempting to test new economic policies to explore new ways to counter the sanctions," Zhang said.

North Korea is sending a message to the international community that it is shifting its focus to economic development and opening to the world, Lü believed.

"It cannot work though: previous special economic zones became failed empty promises," he said.

'Act of war'

"The Chinese side hopes that all relevant parties can implement the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea, or North Korea]-related resolutions of the UN Security Council, including Resolution 2397 in a comprehensive and balanced manner and promote the peaceful settlement of Korean Peninsula-related issues," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at an unusual press conference for the resolution especially called on Saturday.

Hua also reiterated that the Chinese side hopes that all relevant parties can give positive consideration to the "suspension for suspension" initiative and "dual track approach" proposed by China, work with China to stay committed to promoting dialogue and consultation and strive for the advancement of the denuclearization of the peninsula.

In a statement carried by KCNA on Sunday, North Korea's foreign ministry said the new resolution was an "act of war."

Newspaper headline: UN resolution to deal heavy blow to NK

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