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Dagyum Ji is a senior NK News correspondent based in Seoul. She previously worked for Reuters TV.
Compromise and concessions to the “sanctions maneuvers of imperialists” can lead to the destruction of nations, North Korea’s authoritative party daily warned on Monday, in an analysis which sought to highlight cases of U.S. regime change in Iraq and Libya.
The article, titled “Sanctions of the imperialists are not almighty weapons,” appeared on page six of the Rodong Sinmun, an organ of the DPRK’s ruling Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK).
“The world is falling into a state of chaos due to the imperialists’ intervention in internal affairs and their sanctions maneuvers taking place all over the world, and the people are suffering great misfortune and pain,” it said.
In the analysis, the party daily said “western forces, including the U.S., are pressuring countries which are not obedient to them” with sanctions and offering relief if those nations “accept their demands.”
“It is the real intention of the imperialists to bring [the countries] to their knees, wielding their ‘carrots’ and ‘sticks’ alternately,” it read. “One step of concessions leads to ten steps and a hundred concessions, and [the countries] will perish in the end.”
The “state of Iraq and Libya,” the Rodong Sinmun said, reveals what happens when a country is “agitated and backs down for fear of intimidation, blackmail, and sanctions and pressure of the imperialists.”
Those two cases offer “a serious lesson,” it continued, that a country can be “deprived of their national sovereignty and walk along the path of self-destruction, like stabbing its eyes with its own hands.”
North Korean media has long cited Iraq and Libya — both of whom abandoned their weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs only to face U.S.-backed regime change — as evidence of its need for a robust national defense and nuclear weapons.
This May saw the Rodong Sinmun reiterate in a special article (Ronsol) that the countries had “eventually end up facing blood upheaval” although they had sought to curry favor with the “great powers” by relinquishing WMDs.
But the country has also in the last year sought to downplay this kind of rhetoric — a trend likely linked to planned nuclear negotiations and a broader diplomatic detente with the U.S.
In its analysis Monday, the Rodong Sinmun said Western forces including the U.S. “are reinforcing their pressure on anti-imperialist and independent countries by playing the tyrant,” citing measures imposing financial sanctions and trade restrictions as examples.
“The aim of the imperialists imposing sanctions is to realize regime change and subjugate the countries that are invidious to them by confusing economies and disturbing the public sentiment,” the party daily warned, accusing imperialist nations of spending “a large amount of money to destabilize the political system by interfering in the internal affairs of the countries.”
Several countries including Cuba, Venezuela, and Iran have been under this kind of pressure and sanctions, it continued, hailing those nations for their success in taking countermeasures against those policies.
“Cuba is undauntedly stepping forward, holding the banner of socialism aloft despite sanctions and blockade,” the Rodong Sinmun reported, saying the U.S.’s intervention in Venezuela had already been assessed to be a failure.
“Iran is resolutely coping with [sanctions] without succumbing to the U.S., saying that it is an unreliable country that has not met its international obligations at all for decades.”
The analysis denounced the West for “imposing sanctions blindly” on those who do not follow their interests and “attempting to resolve everything with sanctions.”
“[We] can never defend the country and realize the happiness of the people by… compromising with the sanctions maneuvers of the imperialists,” the party daily said. “If [we] are frightened by sanctions imposed by the imperialists and make concessions, [the country] will perish.”
No one but the state can defend the “sovereignty of a country and protect the dignity of the nation,” it continued. “These can only be defended through the struggle against the imperialists.”
Monday’s analysis is notable, coming as it does on the heels of the Rodong Sinmun’s repeated emphasis on “self-reliance” and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s resolute will not to make “concessions” despite sanctions in an editorial and a political essay published on October 17 and 18.
Saturday then saw the Rodong Sinmun urge the North Korean people to pursue economic development against the sanctions maneuvers of “hostile forces” in both a regular article and a special article (Ronsol) featured on its front and the second pages.
In a separate analysis carried on its front page on Monday, the party daily also said that North Korean people had “undauntedly become stronger and their conviction of victory has become more resolute under unprecedented sanctions and pressure.”
Monday’s page six analysis was also, notably, placed alongside three additional articles denouncing international sanctions, including coverage of a speech by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s speech in October in which he condemned economic pressure and sanctions as “primarily a way to interfere in the domestic affairs of certain states.”
Among the three articles, the party daily also featured Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi’s September remarks that “unilateral sanctions, which violate international law, are unsustainable and unpopular.”
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured image: Kevin Lim / STRAITS TIMES