In the Indianapolis Star, David Ignatius connects recent turnabouts in North Korean behavior to the application of US Treasury Department sanctions on financial institutions that do business with DPRK. While I have no doubt that these sanctions helped coax North Korea back to the international fold, I wonder if a better connection might be drawn between October’s Security Council sanctions and the apparent breakthrough in North Korea?

According to Ignatius, the Treasury Department action forced a number of Asian banks to freeze North Korean assets. But that was back in September 2005. One year before North Korea tested its weapon. On the other hand, the Security Council unanimously authorized sanctions this past October. Three weeks later, North Korea agreed to resume the six party talks. And now it would seem that as a result of these renewed talks, North Korea is closer than ever to suspending its weapons.

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