N.Korean sanctions and ‘loyalty’ work | NK News
July 24, 2024
Analysis

N.Korean sanctions and ‘loyalty’ work

Sanctions have unexpected effects as the regime makes up for lost cash through slave labor

When dealing with humans, actions taken in expectation of specific results often have quite unexpected outcomes. North Korea is a case in point. Differing political points of view aside, some observers have been concerned that applying stringent sanctions to Pyongyang would hurt the average citizen. For that reason, care was taken to exempt foodstuffs and medicines from the list of banned goods.

After all, the objective was to tighten the financial screws on the Kim Jong Un regime and to eliminate the importation of luxury goods with which the suryong buys loyalty from senior party members, ranking military personnel and other elites in his inner circle. While there are indeed indications that at least some contraband goods are being halted from entering North Korea, foods seem to be getting through just as intended without problem, and prices on such goods appear to be holding steady in any case.

Become a member for less
than $5.75 per week.

  • Unlimited access to all of NK News: reporting, investigations, analysis
  • The NK News Daily Update, an email newsletter to keep you in the loop
  • Searchable archive of all content, photo galleries, special columns
  • Contact NK News reporters with tips or requests for reporting
Get unlimited access to all NK News content, including original reporting, investigations, and analyses by our team of DPRK experts.
Subscribe now

All major cards accepted. No commitments – you can cancel any time.