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Sanctions would only need to be targeted to be effective---hitting only a few

Chinese companies disrupts the entire trading network.


Anna Fifield 17, The Post’s bureau chief in Tokyo, focusing on Japan and the Koreas,
“North Korea’s trading partners are linked, and that could make them vulnerable,” June
12, The Washington Post, retrieved at:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/north-koreas-trading-partners-
are-linked---and-that-could-make-them-vulnerable/2017/06/12/7d5b3d7c-4f67-11e7-
a973-3dae94ed3eb7_story.html?
*internally citing a research report released by the Center for Advanced
Defense Studies, and quoting John Park, a sanctions expert at Harvard’s
Kennedy School

TOKYO — Targeting just a few pivotal Chinese companies could severely


disrupt North Korea’s ability to circumvent international sanctions and buy
illicit goods — and could even cause its entire overseas network to collapse,
according to a report out Tuesday.
President Trump has repeatedly said he expects China, North Korea’s patron and its
largest trading partner by far, to use its leverage over Kim Jong Un’s regime to force it to
abandon its nuclear and missile programs.

The new report, by Washington-based research group C4ADS, lays out multiple ways
for Beijing to cut off North Korea’s trading routes to the outside world, if it
wanted to. It also found a Chinese citizen who was conducting large amounts of trade
with North Korea while serving as president of a company in the United States — a status
that would allow him to open bank accounts and send or receive shipments.

“By being centralized, limited and ultimately vulnerable North Korean overseas
networks are, by their nature, ripe for disruption,” C4ADS researchers wrote in the
report, titled “Risky Business.”
Successive U.S. administrations have not been able to persuade North Korea to change
its behavior. Talks during the George W. Bush era and the Obama administration’s
“strategic patience” both failed.
Instead, North Korea under Kim has relentlessly pressed ahead with its weapons
programs, conducting two nuclear tests last year and a dozen missile tests already this
year. Kim has made it clear that he wants an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)
that can reach the U.S. mainland.
“Trump blustered early this year that the DPRK’s final access to a nuclear weapon that
can reach the U.S. mainland will never happen,” North Korea’s Rodong Sinmun
newspaper reported over the weekend, using the abbreviation for the nation’s official
name. “But the strategic weapons tests conducted by the DPRK clearly proved that the
time of its ICBM test is not a long way off at all.”
Since taking office, Trump has urged China to deal with its neighbor using whatever
means necessary, and Beijing says it has cut off imports from North Korea of coal, one of
the regime’s biggest exports.
There is still plenty more to be done, C4ADS writes. “Although to date economic coercion
has been ineffective in persuading North Korea to abandon its pursuit of nuclear
weapons, this does not mean it cannot work,” the researchers say.

On the contrary, targeting key companies could cripple multiple networks


across multiple countries simultaneously, they write, because so many of these
firms are intertwined.

“While on the surface we may see shrubs, below are roots that are remarkably deep and
interconnected with other root systems,” said John Park, a sanctions expert at
Harvard’s Kennedy School who advised C4ADS for its report.
To take one example: A Chinese trading company based on the border with North Korea,
Dandong Dongyuan Industrial, exported $790,000 worth of radio navigational aid
equipment to North Korea in June 2016, according to Chinese customs records. This
category of equipment includes navigation systems used in vehicles — the category into
which guidance devices for ballistic missiles would also fit.
It is not known exactly what was in that shipment, but North Korea often uses licit
trading avenues to move illicit goods. That means the real potential is in the
network.

Dandong Dongyuan shipped $28.5 million worth of material to North Korea between
2013 and 2016, C4ADS reported. Chinese business registry filings show that the majority
shareholder of Dandong Dongyuan, with a 97 percent stake, is a Chinese citizen named
Sun Sidong.

A complicated ownership trail of a freighter called the Jie Shun suggests further
intertwining of Chinese business people carrying out deals with North Korea. In
2014, the ship was owned by a company of which Sun was a principal owner. Two years
later, it was owned by a company controlled by a Chinese national named Sun Sihong,
who listed her residential address as an apartment in the same complex as Sun Sidong,
C4ADS reported, noting that it could not ascertain the relationship between them.
On Aug. 11, 2016, the Jie Shun was intercepted near the Suez Canal by Egyptian
authorities and found to be hiding 30,000 rocket-propelled grenades and sub-
components — 132 tons of weapons in all — under a cargo of 2,300 tons of iron ore. The
ship had left the North Korean port of Nampo and made no port calls before being
intercepted, according to shipping data analyzed by C4ADS.
The United Nations’ panel of experts on North Korea reported this year that, although
there was no indication of where the cargo was heading, North Korean RPGs had
previously been identified in Syria and Lebanon.
Sun Sidong is also listed as the president of a company based in the United States,
according to the report, allowing him to conduct business with firms around the world
with no obvious ties to a Chinese company focused on North Korea.
“In principle, it would also provide him the ability to register for business services within
the United States, including sending or receiving shipments, establishing bank accounts,
or applying for employment visas,” the report stated.
Business registration records show that the American entity is called Dongyuan
Enterprise USA and is based in Flushing, N.Y.
Still, the paper trail continues.
Chinese business registry filings show that Dandong Dongyuan shared an email address
with another company based on the Chinese side of the North Korean border, Dandong
Zhicheng Metallic Material.

Dandong Zhicheng alone accounted for 9.2 percent of North Korea’s total exports
to China last year, according to documentation that C4ADS reviewed. Almost all — 97
percent — of this was North Korean coal, totaling about $250 million annually.
The shared email address does not necessarily prove collusion or the existence of illicit
activity, the report said.

“However, it demonstrates again what has been consistently apparent: that the limited
North Korean trading system is much more inter-connected than it at first
appears, and that, because of links to illicit actors, it may be vulnerable to
systemic disruption in the face of targeted enforcement action,” it said.

The companies did not respond to emails seeking comment.

The C4ADS researchers said focusing on these kinds of logistical “chokepoints”


could cut off North Korea’s centralized, global system of illicit finance.
For example, the Dandong Hongxiang Industrial Development Co., which was
sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department last year — sending a sudden chill through
the border city that acts as North Korea’s main commercial gateway to the outside world
— is one of 18 companies that make up the Liaoning Hongxiang Group. This suggests the
potential for an indirect effect if one company is stopped from helping North Korea,
perhaps disrupting numerous other linked companies.

“Based on what we’re seeing in the data in terms of the reach and scope of these
networks and the limited nature of the system that they live in, and the contamination
with illicit activity, there is inherent value to enforcement actions,” said David
Thompson, a senior analyst at C4ADS.
Second is covert action---sabotage is not the be all end all solution, but it at
least buys time.
Mark Bowden 17, an Atlantic national correspondent, “How to Deal With North
Korea,” The Atlantic, July/August 2017 Issue, retrieved at:
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/07/the-worst-problem-on-
earth/528717/

American sabotage has likely played a role in Pyongyang’s string of failed missile
launches in recent years. According to David E. Sanger and William J. Broad of The
New York Times, as the U.S. continued its covert cyberprogram last year, 88 percent of
North Korea’s flight tests of its intermediate-range Musudan missiles ended in failure.
Given that these missiles typically exploded, sometimes scattering in pieces into the sea,
determining the precise cause—particularly for experts outside North Korea—is
impossible. Failure is a big part of missile development, and missiles can blow up on
their own for plenty of reasons, but the percentage of failures certainly suggests
sabotage. The normal failure rate for developmental missile tests, according to The
Times, is about 5 to 10 percent. It’s also possible that the sabotage program is not
computer-related; it might, for instance, involve more old-fashioned techniques such as
feeding faulty parts into the missiles’ supply chain. If sabotage of any kind is behind the
failures, however, no one expects it to do more than slow progress. Even failed tests
move Pyongyang closer to its announced goal: possessing nuclear weapons capable of
hitting U.S. cities.