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Politics & Security

EDITORIAL| Intensify Sanctions on North Korea As Kim Jong Un Assumes Greater Power

North Korea wants to let the incoming U.S. Biden administration know it has nuclear weapons and missiles. The world must remain vigilant and increase sanctions pressure on the hermit kingdom.

Editorial Board, The Sankei Shimbun

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The North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un was elected as general secretary of the Korean Workers’ Party at the congress on January 10, taking the title over from his late father Kim Jong Il.

The leader of the hermit state admitted that North Korea’s five-year economic plan had “failed to meet its targets in almost every sector,” and that the country was undergoing serious economic hardship.

Kim also referred to the United States as North Korea’s “greatest enemy,” emphasizing that “North Korea’s defense capability is able to overcome opposition intimidation preemptively.” 

This kind of threat of preemptive use of nuclear weapons is totally unacceptable.

The dictator added that North Korea would develop tactical nuclear weapons and solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), and continue producing “super-large nuclear warheads.”

He stated that development of ICBM with multiple warheads was in the final stages. He also added that he planned to achieve early introduction of hypersonic gliding-flight warheads, in addition to possessing nuclear submarines and intelligence satellites.

The North Korean leader also appears to have removed his sister, Kim Yo Jong — widely regarded as the country’s number 2 — from her senior political role in what is effectively a demotion.

Showing Off His Military Hardware

A military parade was held in North Korea on January 14.

The parade was a business-as-usual event, showing North Korea clinging onto nuclear weapons and missiles under Kim’s dictatorship. It was designed to give the impression the country was on top of COVID-19 and the issue of United Nations sanctions.

North Korea wants to let the incoming U.S. Biden administration know it has nuclear weapons and missiles. The hermit state has engaged in military provocation at a time when negotiation with the U.S. is what is wanted. The world must remain vigilant for possible ballistic missile launches by North Korea.

Maximum Pressure with International Sanctions

The global community should increase pressure on North Korea. 

Strict sanctions must continue — unless the country abandons its nuclear weapons and missiles and releases all the Japanese abductees — making it very hard for North Korea to keep going, and thereby forcing Kim to realize he needs to change his stance.

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden recently described Kim Jong Un as a “thug.” We want the incoming Biden administration to take the lead in increasing pressure on North Korea, based on this accurate observation, after the inauguration on January 20. 

Moreover, the Japanese government must work toward trying to get the Japanese abductees released.

Kim also cozied up to China, stating that “China and North Korea are inseparable and share the same destiny.” President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory message to Kim upon becoming general secretary. 

We must not have a situation whereby China ignores U.N. sanctions and supports North Korea.

RELATED READ: North Korea’s New Year’s Message Raises the Threat of War

(Read the original editorial in Japanese at this link.)

Author: Editorial Board, The Sankei Shimbun