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U.S. sanctions N. Korea over Sony hack

Posted January. 05, 2015 07:18,   


The U.S. President Barack Obama authorized on Friday a new executive order to impose a comprehensive sanction on North Korea’s development of nuclear/missile programs, human rights abuse and cyberattack on Sony Pictures Entertainment. With the sanction, the U.S. government has sent a strong message never allowing any provocation by the communist regime that hacked the movie maker in an attempt to block the release of the comedy movie "The Interview," which depicts a fictional assassination plot against North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The North’s Reconnaissance General Bureau, which became a target of this sanction, has long been on the target list. Therefore, some analyze that this executive order is a symbolic measure to send a strong warning to the authoritarian regime. However, the North Korea-U.S. relations are likely to be strained further in the future as the White House described this sanction as “an opening move,” implying that there might be further actions. Following the financial sanctions related to the arms trade with Russia, Syria and Iran, if the U.S. freezes the overseas assets of all North Korean high-ranking officials including Kim Jong Un, the repercussion would be even greater.

"The Interview," to which North Korea responded with fury accusing the movie of defamation of the nation`s "supreme dignity," is not an artistic movie of cinematic quality. It ended up with a low-blow parodies full of cursing and sexual codes to jeer at the North’s leader whom the international community cannot understand. What makes this movie a much-talked-about one is over-reaction by the authoritarian regime. North Korea was too hasty to read Kim’s countenance and took a risky move, known as cyberattack. The isolated country even further aggravated the situation by furiously threatening “strikes against the whole U.S. mainland” when the U.S. government forewarned a possible sanction.

The North Korea-the U.S. relations affect the inter-Korean relations. Expectation has been heightened on the resumption of the South-the North talks after long silence since the North Korean leader mentioned a possibility of the long-suspended inter-Korean summit talks during his New Year’s greeting speech. However, if the U.S. strengthens sanctions against North Korea, it would be practically hard for the South to speed up in improvement of the strained relations with the North. The South Korean government must carefully read the true intention of Kim Jong Un, who sent a signal for dialogues but requested for the suspension of the ROK-U.S. joint military drills. To achieve unification in the form of our desire, it is important for South Korea and the U.S., in an alliance, to have a coordinated posture in the manner and speed toward North Korea.

It is not desirable to anybody when tensions on the Korean Peninsula arise due to sanctions against North Korea and Internet outages in the North that came after the recent cyberattack on Sony, on which rumors are around that the U.S. was behind it. To avoid inviting trouble over a mere low-grade comedy movie, North Korea must refrain from taking any irrational move. South Korea and the U.S. need to cooperate with each other for issues including sanctions against the North, not to make any negative impact to the long-awaited momentum for the resumption of the inter-Korean talks.