On Friday, Washington, with Beijing's backing, submitted a new resolution to the UN Security Council for additional sanctions against North Korea to deter it from progressing further with its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
Michael Madden, a North Korean expert who runs the North Korean Leadership Watch blog, told Radio Sputnik that the sanctions are unlikely to succeed in stopping the programs, even if they do harm to the North Korean economy.
"It's not a terrific economy but in the last couple of years they've had modest growth and they've had some progress in terms of domestic economic development so it will remain to be seen if the sanctions affect that," Madden said.
"One of the things that they've done is to allow the technocrats that are within North Korea's cabinet to start managing programs, these people are very experienced [in dealing with] the fundamental flaws in North Korea's economy, they know some of the fixes they need to make."
"There have been some light reform measures that they've taken since Kim Jong-un has come to power, there's a little more flexibility for the technocrats, there's a little more flexibility in terms of food production, there's some very basic market principles that they're applying to their economy and I think that has affected growth rates over the last couple of years."
"There is a certain degree – a very specific degree because it's a totalitarian state – of flexibility that he has allowed officials to have in terms of formulating policies."
However, that flexibility does not extend to its nuclear program, and sanctions will not make Pyongyang give up its nuclear program, Madden warned.
"North Korea has basically said on a number of occasions that they have no intention of giving up their nuclear weapons program, and no intention of stopping space launches, and we're going to have to take them at their word."
"They have numerous reasons for that, they'll say 'Iraq and Libya got rid of their WMD programs, look what happened there,' and to a certain degree they're justified in their thinking based on what they've seen happen to other similar political systems after they negotiated away their WMD programs."
Madden said that Beijing has supported the US proposal for tougher sanctions against Pyongyang because of legitimate concerns about the potential for nuclear fallout and earthquakes as a result of the weapons tests, which "annoy China to a great extent, especially the nuclear weapons tests."
"Once the sanctions are passed, we'll see some very interesting statements coming out of North Korea, they'll just continue to heighten tensions on the Korean peninsula, and that's what we'll be seeing."