The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was created after World War II. More commonly known as North Korea, the country has almost entirely been in the hands of a single ruling family since then.
Under their leadership, the country has maintained near-total secrecy about its activities. However, over the last two decades, the nation has tested nuclear weapons and long-range missiles. This has made other countries nervous, including their neighbors and allies - most importantly, China.
Last week, the US and China jointly prepared a draft of strict sanctions on North Korea. This will be presented later this week before the UN’s Security Council for further voting by the members.
History of North Korea
The communist country of North Korea, along with South Korea is part of the Korean peninsula that borders China and Russia. The government is run as a dictatorship, and the government owns all production and runs all public services too.
The country has few friends and limits the freedom of its press. Although North Korea was hit by famine in the 1990s and is still heavily reliant on international aid for food supplies, hardly any information leaks out. Whatever little is known about the country has been through people who escaped the regime and sought asylum in South Korea and the U.S. Many carried tales of persecution, hunger and human right abuses.
North Korea has one of the largest military forces of the world. In 2006, news broke out about their first ever nuclear test, which alarmed countries around the world. Since then, it has also carried out other nuclear and hydrogen bomb tests, apart from banned long-range missile tests, all of which have been condemned internationally.
Losing Its Allies?
In the Korean War of 1950s, China and the former Soviet Union were the only 2 allies of North Korea. With the collapse of the Soviet, only China has supported North Korea internationally in recent times.
While the US has always pushed for strict sanctions, China has adopted a milder approach to its neighbor. However, China too eventually supported the UN’s sanctions against North Korea a few years ago, when their government realized their national security was threatened.
Sanctions are a way of isolating the country by cutting off economic and financial aid. Over discussions stretching for 6 weeks, US and Chinese diplomats have prepared a draft agreement. This covers several important items of trade, including arms, weapons, aviation fuel, nuclear and missile equipment, and a long list of luxury items. There are also financial sanctions to prevent flow of funds towards weapon development.
This draft has been approved by the United Nations. However, the real effectiveness of these sanctions lies in how well they are implemented. Hopefully this new agreement will close earlier loopholes and pressurize North Korea into giving up their nuclear weapons.