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Human cost of sanctions

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By John Burton

One of the ironies of Donald Trump's engagement policy with North Korea over the past two years, is that while he praises the "beautiful letters" he has received from Kim Jong-un, he has done nothing to ease the "maximum pressure" sanctions that he imposed in 2017 when the U.S. president was in his "fire and fury" phase. Trump's refusal to move the needle is a key reason why Kim is now threatening to pursue a more aggressive course in dealing with the U.S. at the end of the year.

Sanctions are a blunt instrument that often hurts ordinary people rather than their intended target of the elite. Little attention has been paid to how international sanctions have affected the lives of the average North Korean. But a recent report, "The Human Costs and Gendered Impact of Sanctions on North Korea," commissioned by the activist women's group Korea Peace Now, attempts to address their effect on humanitarian aid and development programs in the country.

"There is increasing evidence that the sanctions regime on [North Korea] is having adverse humanitarian consequences," the report concludes, since it is causing a shortage of medical supplies, reduced agricultural production and less access to potable water.

Although the U.N. sanctions are not supposed to affect........

© The Korea Times