The Resilience Of North Korea In The Face Of Sanctions


North Korea is one of the most sanctioned countries in the world. The United Nations Security Council has imposed sanctions on North Korea since 2006 in response to its nuclear and missile programs. These sanctions have had a significant impact on the country’s economy, but North Korea has been able to find ways to evade them. The most stringent sanctions have been imposed by the EU, the US, and Canada, while Japan and South Korea remain the biggest hurdles in Asia. Although all of these markets have banned trade, humanitarian assistance is still provided to North Korea. However, it is unrealistic to think that the country’s exports can cover the expenses needed to maintain the luxurious lifestyle of its leader. Despite the strained relations that North Korea has with the rest of the world, the country somehow manages to survive. This begs the question: how? In this article, I will explain the techniques used by transnational networks to keep the country afloat.


The Korean War was a proxy war fought between North Korea and South Korea, based on ideological differences. With the allied powers supporting South Korea, North Korea was left to defend itself with the help of the Soviet Union. After the end of the Korean War in the 1950s, the Soviet Union helped the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) run its economy. Until the 1960s, the USSR provided North Korea with technology, goods, weapons, and money. However, in the 1970s, Soviet support vanished. This meant that North Korea lost access to foreign goods, technology, weapons, and money, placing it in a vulnerable position.

Creation of Room 39:

As a result of these unfortunate circumstances, Room 39 was created. Room 39 is a state-sponsored criminal network that is used to fulfill the needs of the economy. The network is involved in trafficking weapons, counterfeit money, and distributing opium around the world. Room 39’s mission is to acquire capital for the state, as tourism and trade are not viable options to keep the economy running. In the 1980s, Room 39 expanded into the production of hard drugs. According to North Korean refugees, all drug operations are under the control of the ruling family. North Korea has a significant advantage over other criminal organizations because it uses the tools of the state to run this criminal empire. It uses its naval vessels and provides smugglers with diplomatic passports to ensure that illicit contraband is circulated all over the world. The use of transnational criminal networks is just one way that North Korea evades sanctions. The country also engages in other activities, such as trading with countries that are not signatories to the UN sanctions regime and using shell companies and front organizations to obscure the true nature of its financial transactions. This allows North Korea to exploit loopholes in international law and traffic in goods and services that are banned under sanctions.

The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations provides diplomatic immunity to diplomats, which means that they cannot be arrested or detained for their activities. This gives Room 39 a significant advantage over other criminal organizations, as it allows them to operate with impunity. The Vienna Convention provides a framework for the protection of Diplomats (VCDR Art. 29: “The person of a diplomatic agent shall be inviolable. He shall not be liable to any form of arrest or detention. The receiving State shall treat him with due respect and shall take all appropriate steps to prevent any attack on his person, freedom or dignity.” This allows North Korea to produce drugs such as methamphetamine and heroin, which are then smuggled all over the world by diplomats. The drug labs are located on North Korean soil, making them inaccessible to the international community.

Similarly, North Korea is involved in the production of counterfeit US dollars. The network of smugglers is so well-organized that the counterfeit bills have been found all over the world, including Las Vegas. The US Secret Service has called these bills some of the most sophisticated ever made. There have also been reports that North Korea has traded bullets for diamonds with Mugabe’s secret police in Africa. In addition, a North Korean diplomat has been accused of smuggling ivory and rhino horn out of Africa to resell elsewhere.

5th generation warfare:
While drugs may remain a primary means of maintaining their economy to sustain their military, North Korea has also created a cyberwarfare force called the Lazarus Group

The group was created in the 1960s to deal with the threat posed by fifth-generation warfare. The Lazarus Group has been linked to a number of cyberattacks, including the hacking of the central bank of Bangladesh and the WannaCry ransomware attack. The WannaCry ransomware attack was a global cyberattack that infected over 230,000 computers in over 150 countries. The attack was caused by a worm that encrypted files on the infected computers and demanded a ransom payment in Bitcoin. The worm exploited a vulnerability in the Windows operating system that had been patched by Microsoft in March 2017. However, many computers were still running the unpatched version of Windows, which allowed WannaCry to infect them. The Lazarus Group is believed to be responsible for the WannaCry attack, as well as other cyberattacks, such as the hacking of the Sony Pictures Entertainment network. The group is believed to be funded by the North Korean government and is used to steal money and information from other countries. The Lazarus Group is a serious threat to global security. The groups cyberattack have caused billions of dollars in damage and have disrupted critical infrastructure. The international community needs to take steps to disrupt the Lazarus Group’s operations and prevent future cyberattacks.

The resilience of North Korea in the face of sanctions is a testament to the ingenuity and determination of its leaders. The country has been under sanctions for over 15 years, but it has still been able to maintain its nuclear and missile programs. This is due to a number of factors, including the country’s isolation, its authoritarian government, and its fear of the United States. The sanctions against North Korea have had a significant impact on the country’s economy, but they have not been able to stop its nuclear and missile programs. The international community needs to find new ways to pressure North Korea to abandon its nuclear and missile programs. These new ways may include increasing the enforcement of sanctions, targeting sanctions evasion networks, and promoting international cooperation on sanctions enforcement.



Ms Zarka Khan


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