New sanctions set to be imposed on North Korea by the United States will effectively sever all tie to international finance for the secretive nation. The new round of sanctions come as a result of the alleged cyber-attack the Koreans deployed against Sony in retaliation for the motion picture The Interview, a movie which has been received with a reception best described as lukewarm.
Previous sanctions imposed on North Korea have discouraged a host of international banks from doing any business with the self-proclaimed “self-reliant socialist state” but Barack Obama seems keen to go a step further this time around. He hopes to identify any remaining financial institutions still “in bed” with North Korea, and threaten them with their own sanctions unless they pull the plug.
The Executive Order essentially enables the President to target any member of the North Korean government, or anyone contracted to them. The US describes the North Korean regime as “brutal and dangerous,” a description that has been attributed to a host of Gulf States, Vietnam and Somalia over the years. The same action witnessed in these countries is unlikely to be pursued with North Korea however, as the ‘unknown quantity’ aspect is seen as far too threatening.
The US are also attempting to pass a bill labelling North Korea as the world’s primary money-laundering concern, and they claim the self-funded state only manages to get by via a range of illegal activities, such as counterfeit dollar bill production, arms dealing and drug export. All this, combined with the accusations of an extensive nuclear program and the apparently premeditated attack on Sony, places North Korea at the top of the latest US hit list. North Korea denies launching any attack on Sony, and has previously stated that any further sanctions will be met with reprisals.