In The News

UN Sanctions and their Impact on North Korea

October 27, 2010

The Office of Senator Richard Lugar has released the latest Congressional Research Service (CRS) report on implementation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1874, along with a statement that “the findings include a stark reminder that U.S. and China interests regarding North Korea are largely incongruent. While the United States presses for elimination of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, China’s primary focus is on preserving regional stability.”

The CRS report highlights China’s exports of luxury goods to North Korea, noting spikes in Chinese exports of luxury goods in December of each year based on a close analysis of Chinese customs data. China’s exports of $212.2 million in luxury goods to North Korea in 2009 constituted almost two-thirds of reported trade in luxury goods based on U.S. and U.K. definitions of luxury goods. Although the CRS report highlights an apparent drop in exports from early 2010, it also reports an apparent recovery of such exports to an average of $8.6 million/month by mid-year. The CRS report also contains a valuable link to a report to the Security Council from the Panel of Experts established pursuant to Resolution 1874 that was reported last May.

As if to underscore the point that China’s implementation of UN Security Council resolutions has been put on the backburner, I came across this heart-warming story that the China Waxwork Museum for Great Figures will be donating a life-size rendering of Kim Jong Il’s mother, Kim Jong-sook, later this year at Kim Jong Il’s request on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of her marriage to Kim Il sung.

Read the full piece on the Council on Foreign Relations blog Asia Unbound.

Scott Snyder directs The Asia Foundation’s Center for U.S.-Korea Policy. He can be reached at

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