Beyond economic sanctions: Rethinking the North Korean sanctions regime

Matthias Maass

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


In 2010, Taiwan's president, Ma Ying-jeou, explained the rationale for his country signing a major economic cooperation treaty with mainland China with the following statement: "We can handle diplomatic isolation, but economic isolation is fatal." This essay will make the argument that in the case of North Korea, the opposite is true: Economic isolation appears fairly manageable for Pyongyang, but diplomatic sanctions may in fact enhance a broad coercive strategy significantly.This argument will be framed within the broader claim that in particular in the case of North Korea, sanctions have been conceptualized too narrowly-they have been viewed as economic coercion only. Instead, the argument is made that sanctioning states should consider the entire spectrum allowed under Chapter VII, Article 41 of the UN Charter.The discussion in this article will be limited to the case of North Korea for reasons of space and the urgent need to address the deteriorating security situation on the Korean Peninsula, given the country's rise to quasi-nuclear power status. In light of this development, the sanctions regime currently in place needs to be reevaluated. A reorientation towards diplomatic sanctions will allow for a broader coercive strategy that is mindful of nuclear deterrence but goes beyond economic sanctions, which have not been successful in restricting Pyongyang's military-strategic objectives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-56
Number of pages12
JournalNorth Korean Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Sept 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)


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