Dear President Obama: It’s Time to Confront the North Korea Question

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power declared in December that someday North Korea will face justice for its human rights violations that the UN assessed were “crimes against humanity.” That day could be today. The White House has the authority to sanction any North Korean official or entity for simply being part of the North Korean government. The United States has sanctioned by name the presidents of Belarus and Zimbabwe for human rights violations. But to date, the Obama administration has sanctioned zero North Korean entities for human rights violations. Washington should no longer hold some sanctions in abeyance, to be rolled out after the next North Korean violation or provocation. There will be little change until North Korea feels pain and China feels concern over the consequences of Pyongyang’s actions and its own obstructionism.

‘The U.S. needs to sharpen the choices for North Korea by raising the risk and cost for those violating laws and resolutions as well as for those who have been willing so far to facilitate North Korea’s prohibited programs and illicit activities.

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