Ban on sale of refined crude oil and the renewal of visas for foreign workers. Sanctions at historical levels. In the past, Pyongyang evaded them thanks to China. Now the regime is also facing internal struggles and likely to disintegrate.
Brussels (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The European Union yesterday decided to ban the sale of refined petroleum products and not to renew visas for North Korean workers, lowering the maximum ceiling for transfers of money from 15,000 North Korean dollars to 5 thousand euros. A former regime officer warns: under these conditions "the country will not last one year".
Sanctions have been building up against North Korea since last month, when Pyongyang conducted its sixth missile test. Recent advances have put the international community and experts on high alert, worried that the bombs are now able to reach distant destinations, including the United States. In response, the United Nations Security Council has imposed new punitive measures, embraced by the historic ally in Beijing.
Ri Jong-ho, former government official who deserted the regime to flee to the US, expresses concern for the country's future, which "never faced similar sanctions. I do not know if North Korea will survive this year. People will die. "
According to Ri, the provocative behavior of Pyongyang is the result of a "desperate" need to force the United States to open a diplomatic dialogue that excludes Seoul and is limited to bilateral negotiations.
Ri also argues that a pivotal point in the situation is the worsening of relations between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Chinese President Xi Jinping, through uncle of Jang Song-thaek and other officials close to Beijing. "Now China has blocked trade, which has never happened before, so this is the lowest point in their relationships."
UN sanctions against North Korea have been accumulating since 2006, when six-nation negotiations between North Korea, China, USA, Japan, South Korea and Russia failed. In the past, Pyongyang was able to circumvent the restrictions with the help of China, worried about the possible exodus of North Korean refugees in the event of destabilization of the country. China shares 1,400 km of border with North Korea.
The latest blockade of punitive measures has effectively reduced Pyongyang's trade, limiting it to a set amount of oil and humanitarian aid.
Despite all of this, Kim Jong-un seems willing to continue missile tests.