North Korea

  • Coherent US Strategy Seen Key to Effective Sanctions

    As Washington looks to punish Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine, support for Bashar al-Assad in Syria, and interference in the 2016 US elections, economic sanctions can be a useful tool, but they must fit into a coherent US strategy in order to be effective, Atlantic Council experts told US lawmakers on May 15.

    “Sanctions can be a useful, precise, and effective tool of US foreign policy, so long as they are treated as a tool to implement a clear policy and a thought-out strategy,” David Mortlock, a nonresident senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center explained.


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  • Policing Terror Finance in an Era of Great Competition

    The United States' sanctions strategy is increasingly burdened by the involvement of systemically important financial institutions and sovereign investors in global financial statecraft. In the post-9/11 world, Washington’s strategy was highly effective in pursuing non-state actors like al-Qaeda or ISIS, as well as small, rogue nations like Iran. Yet in addressing larger sovereigns like the Kremlin, US strategy has struggled to maintain the same effectiveness given the cross-border financial connections linking these entities to Western markets. As an era of great power competition among Washington, Moscow, and Beijing sets in, these foes will crowd out smaller, non-state actors, thus demanding an adequate response from the Treasury.


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  • Iran-North Korea Relationship Reflects Failed US Policies

    Before he was Iran’s Supreme Leader, then-President Ayatollah Ali Khamenei visited North Korea in 1989—a trip that included a ride on the Pyongyang subway and a motorcade ride past throngs of cheering North Koreans. It was intended to send a strong message: North Korea and Iran, driven by mutual enmity toward the United States, were becoming close friends.

    “Among the reasons why Iran is close to Korea is the USA’s enmity toward both our countries,” Khamenei said. “If big countries threaten progressive countries, then progressive countries should threaten them in turn... You have proved in Korea that you have the power to confront America.”

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  • Trump's Reversal of North Korea Sanctions Sends a Dangerous Signal

    US President Donald J. Trump’s stunning decision to reverse Treasury sanctions on North Korea because he “likes” Kim Jong-un sends a troubling message to the United States’ friends and foes.

    “Hard to believe, but the president is undercutting his own policy of maximum pressure/maximum diplomacy, which was arguable sound, in favor, it seems, of an obsequious gesture,” said Daniel Fried, a distinguished senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Future Europe Initiative and Eurasia Center who as the State Department’s coordinator for sanctions policy crafted US sanctions against Russia, the largest US sanctions program to date, and negotiated the imposition of similar sanctions by Europe, Canada, Japan, and Australia. 


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  • COhen in Forbes: North Korea Illegally Trades Oil, Coal, With China's Help


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  • Fried Quoted in Foreign Policy on Trump-Kim personla relationship and its impact on U.S.-North Korea relationship


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  • Manning quoted in Voice of America on North Korea's economic development goals


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  • Manning in Global Times: All frontline states needed to resolve NK issue


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  • After Hanoi: The Road Ahead for the United States and North Korea

    As Washington and Pyongyang pick up the pieces following the abruptly concluded summit between US President Donald J. Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Hanoi last month, the two sides have an opportunity to reassess their positions. Some former officials believe that there is, in fact, reason to be hopeful.

    Kim “needs a different kind of future for [North Korea] and his regime, and he’s prepared to take some risks to do it,” said Kathleen Stephens, a former US ambassador to South Korea.


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  • Manning Quoted in VOA on Outcome of Hanoi Summit


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