There is definitely a growing chorus of people wanting the US government to get tough on North Korea and in particular to target their cash flow:
WASHINGTON, March 7 (Yonhap) — The effectiveness of new U.N. sanctions on North Korea, the toughest yet, depends largely on the U.S. government’s resolve and skills to implement them, especially through the Treasury Department, a renowned American pundit on Korea said Thursday.
Most of the previous U.N. Security Council resolutions against Pyongyang have had no real teeth, said Bruce Bechtol, associate professor of political science at Angelo State University in Texas. He has long studied North Korea issues, authoring several books on the communist nation including the one titled, “Defiant Failed State.”
“If this resolution is to truly work, the United States must follow up with detailed action by the Treasury Department,” he said in an email interview.
Earlier in the day, the U.N. council voted for Resolution 2094 that toughens and expands financial restrictions on Pyongyang in a bid to prevent it from earning hard currency. The resolution, adopted in response to North Korea’s Feb. 12 nuclear test, also calls for the inspection of North Korea’s maritime and air cargo believed to be used for the transfer of weapons of mass destruction and related materials.
As far as the implementation of the U.N. sanctions is concerned, Bechtol stressed, the Treasury holds the key as it did in 2005. [Yonhap]
You can read the rest at the link, but Bechtol provides a recap of the 2005 Banco Delta Asia incident that showed how effective financial sanctions can change Kim regime behavior. However, the North Koreans wiht the help of their Chinese allies have gotten more sophisticated hiding their money. As Bechtol points out, the US government being willing to sanction Chinese banks and risk drawing Beijing’s ire will be the key to effective financial sanctions against the North Koreans.