23:57 GMT +323 October 2017
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    The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) logo is displayed in the lobby of CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia, on August 14, 2008

    CIA Knew Economic Sanctions Wouldn’t Halt North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons Buildup

    © AFP 2017/ SAUL LOEB
    Military & Intelligence
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    A declassified CIA document from the early 1990s reveals that the US intelligence community knew that economic sanctions against Pyongyang would not cause the country to back off its nuclear expansion program.

    The sanctions alone "would not cause North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program," according to the first ‘key judgement’ in the CIA report. US President Donald Trump stated via the White House website that designing a "state-of-the-art" missile defense system is a top priority to squash threats posed by Pyongyang.

    Trump blasted Beijing via Twitter on January 3 for "taking massive amounts of money & wealth from the US in totally one-sided trade, but won’t help with North Korea. Nice!"

    The report comments cryptically that China, a vital economic partner to Pyongyang, "would strenuously oppose—and assist Pyongyang in evading—an embargo."

    Cutting off North Korea from trade with major economic players like the European Union and the US puts a stranglehold on Pyongyang in crucial industries. As of 1991, all of Pyongyang’s crude oil, advanced technology, and coal were imported. Further, one-quarter of grain imports at the time were imported, meaning that sanctions would likely lead to starvation among poorer North Koreans.

    A trade embargo “at minimum” would place the Pyongyang regime "on alert," the unclassified brief notes. "It is possible, though not likely," the report says, that sanctions could force Pyongyang to "resort to a military attack on the South, if Pyongyang perceived sanctions threatened its basic survival." 

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    sanctions, Donald Trump, Pyongyang, Washington, Beijing
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