North Korea will strive to drive a wedge in the international sanction regime as sweeping punitive measures start to bite, requiring South Korea and its allies to actively counter such strategies, a Pyongyang observer said Sunday.
"The North is likely to implement an 'oblique strategy' that can get China to bolt from carrying out sanctions by fueling Sino-U.S. friction and cause internal discord within South Korea, as well as the Seoul-Washington alliance," said Chung Sung-yoon, deputy director of research at the state-run Korea Institute for National Unification (KINU).
In the report on the evaluation and strategic implications of sanctions imposed on North Korea, the research fellow said Pyongyang will also likely encourage closer ties between Beijing and Moscow, while moving to create a rift between South Korea and China, which could cause the former to ease up on sanctions. Such a development will effectively take the sting out of the latest United Nations Security Council resolution.
Resolution 2270 reached on March 2 are the toughest sanctions slapped on the isolationist country to date and come after Pyongyang detonated its fourth nuclear device and launched a long-range ballistic missile earlier in the year.
The latest sanctions resolution calls for a general ban on the import of North Korean coal, iron and iron ore, with some exceptions; prohibits the sale of aviation fuel to the North; and restricts the communist country from conducting banking transactions abroad. All U.N. members are also required to inspect North Korean cargo entering their territory.
"The North will take such steps the more the sanctions start to hurt," he predicted. The North Korean expert claimed that the recent calls for dialogue by the North are aimed at causing internal division within the countries enforcing sanctions.
He said to ensure that sanction cohesion remains strong, and to prevent China and Russia from siding with the North, there is a need to not impede the "strategic interest" of these two critical countries.
The KINU scholar then said that the current sanction, while comprehensive, aims mainly to restrict the inflow of funds to the North leadership.
"There is a need to better exploit North Korea's weaknesses," the scholar said.
The researcher, meanwhile, said that while sanctions are needed, eventually, dialogue is the only way to get the North to give up its nukes.
Chung, however, maintained that for dialogue to start, the North must at least announce a freeze on all future nuclear and missile tests, and accept inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency. (Yonhap)