US pushes for more sanctions against North Korea

The US plans to impose further sanctions against North Korea, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday. The announcement comes as part of the latest bid to stem the nation’s atomic ambitions.

Speaking in South Korea after holding talks with defense and military officials, Clinton said the new measures, including the freezing of assets, aim to stop North Korea from purchasing or selling arms.

The decision comes just days before a joint military exercise aimed at deterring Pyongyang from any potential attacks. However, historian and Korea expert Jim Hoare suggested that concerns over a possible attack have been exaggerated.

The atmosphere [in North Korea] has gotten much worse, but I think it’s a big step from that to say that we are on the verge of danger of a greater conflict,” Hoare said.

The consensus view among politicians in Washington is that the sanctions would have a “symbolic message,” said John Park from the Center for Conflict Analysis and Prevention at the United States Institute of Peace.

“It’s a two-part message,” Park said. “One is that North Korea has a decision to make to go down this path of isolation and more sanctions, or come back to the six-party talks, negotiate de-nuclearization and get economic and diplomatic concession. The second big message to North Korea is that their sinking of the South Korean warship “Cheonan” has consequences and also to warn North Korea against future provocations.”

Watch the full interview with John Park