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Yoon: N. Korea is in worst economic condition since Kim took power

Yoon: N. Korea is in worst economic condition since Kim took power

Posted September. 05, 2023 08:22,   

Updated September. 05, 2023 08:22


South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said North Korea is in its worst economic condition since Kim took power. “Unless North Korea stops its nuclear development, the regime’s instability will continue to increase,” he added. In addition, President Yoon urged China to make constructive efforts for North Korea’s denuclearization.

“The hardships faced by North Koreans in their everyday lives are worsening, and its economy continues to register negative growth,” said President Yoon in a written interview with the Associated Press published on Monday before he visited Indonesia and India to attend the ASEAN Summit and G20 Summit from Tuesday through Monday.

“China seems to have considerable leverage over North Korea,” said the South Korean president, referring to the high dependence of the North Korean economy on China. He claimed that China should make constructive efforts to denuclearize North Korea as China has the responsibility to maintain peace and stability in the international community as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council if the North continues to sophisticate its nuclear and missile capabilities and violate the sanctions of the United Nations Security Council. As of 2022, 96.7 percent of North Korea’s trade is with China.

He emphasized that North Korea’s nuclear program has a negative effect on China’s national interests by further disrupting regional order. “At the upcoming ASEAN-related Summits and the G20 Summit, I intend to urge the international community to resolutely respond to North Korea’s ever-escalating missile provocations and nuclear threats and to work closely together on its denuclearization,” said the president. “As long as the U.N. Security Council sanctions currently in place are faithfully implemented, North Korea’s financial means for developing weapons of mass destruction can be blocked to a significant extent.”

He added that he would underscore the need to actively deter North Korea from stealing cryptocurrency, dispatching workers overseas, facilitating maritime transshipments, and other illegal activities, which are the main funding sources for its nuclear and missile development. He also said that he would call for the international community’s attention to the horrific violation of human rights of North Korean people who are used as a means of the North Korean regime to maintain its power.

Joo-Young Jeon aimhigh@donga.com