By Asish Samson
Japan’s Foreign Ministry has imposed fresh sanctions on North Korea on Friday. Assets of another 19 entities and individuals have been frozen which include Coal, Minerals, banks and transport firms in a clear effort to ramp up pressure on Pyongyang. Individuals from China and Russia will also be targeted along with more than 200 organisations. This move was made in the backdrop of the UN Security Council meeting to be held in New York later on Friday.
In September North Korea launched its Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) across Japanese territory as clear provocation which drew sharp response from Japan. Japan has already been imposing a blanket ban on North Korea in trade and port calls. North Korean agents also abducted Japanese citizens to be trained as spies to work undercover in Japan.
All these companies and individuals are already under sanctions from the USA and South Korea. USA in particular has taken a very hard line stance against Kim Jong Un’s regime. President Donald Trump has repeatedly called for action on the dictator both to the UN and on Twitter. He has urged China to keep the dictator under control. Kim Jong Un himself made very strong comments on Trump and has threatened the USA with nuclear response.
The UN Security Council meeting would address this issue along with the plan of action to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula on Friday. South Korea and Japan have been strong allies to the USA on this issue obviously. They have repeatedly called the UN to increase pressure on North Korea and free the North Korean people from the clutches of the third generation dictator. The North Korean government imposes very strict rules on its citizens and controls every aspect of public life including television and hair styles. The farmers are forced to grow crops for the government and Kim’s family is depicted in every school history book with godlike reverence. Several citizens have defected to other countries to escape the clutch of the government who recounted horrific tales of their life style in North Korea. Kim Jong Un is alleged to have conducted hundreds of executions of citizens and government officials who rebelled against him. Meanwhile the North Korean Military has conducted numerous missile and nuclear tests against the protests of the UN and its neighbours. Many world leaders have called this as the greatest threat to global peace.
The relations between Japan and North Korea have always been severely strained due to Japan’s close relations with South Korea on trade and North Korea’s abduction of Japanese citizens in the late 1970s. North Korean denied these abductions until 2002 after which it returned five people and claiming the rest were deceased. It refused to release any more information under pressure from Japan. According to a BBC poll conducted in 2014 about 91% view North Korea in a negative light while only 1% viewed them positively. This is the most negative perception of North Korea in the entire world.