World Scientific
Skip main navigation

Cookies Notification

We use cookies on this site to enhance your user experience. By continuing to browse the site, you consent to the use of our cookies. Learn More
Our website is made possible by displaying certain online content using javascript.
In order to view the full content, please disable your ad blocker or whitelist our website

System Upgrade on Feb 12th

During this period, E-commerce and registration of new users may not be available for up to 12 hours.
For online purchase, please visit us again. Contact us at [email protected] for any enquiries.

Why Economic Sanctions on North Korea Fail to Work?

    Imposed since 2006, the comprehensive multilateral economic sanctions against North Korea appear to have had little effect on the regime’s pursuance of nuclear programs. Under the increasingly strict measures, Pyongyang has been demonstrating ever greater resolves to stick to its way of nuclear buildup. This study explores the reasons behind the failed economic sanctions from the international community. It argues that economic sanctions usually follow a two-step working mechanism, which is informed by multiple causal pathways. Accordingly, the effectiveness of sanctions is largely subject to the dynamic contexts of the target, senders and international community. Considering the causal logic from different aspects, this article identifies several obstacles. The most important one is that owing to North Korea’s political structure and history, there is almost no constituency that may respond to the sanction pressure; on the contrary, economic sanctions seem to only increase domestic resistance against exogenous hostilities. In other words, it is not a regime that is likely to yield to coercive policies. Therefore, tougher sanctions may only generate pressure, but they can hardly change North Korea’s nuclear policy.