North Korean sanctions technology

The UN imposed increasingly restrictive sanctions on North Korea after each of the six nuclear tests it conducted between 2009 and 2016. However, the application of these sanctions has been mixed.

In this report, the author describes the origins of North Korea’s hostility to the West in the Korean War, behaviors that led to the country continuing to be seen as hostile and aggressive, and the available multilateral arms control mechanisms and sanctions imposed on North Korea to limit its proliferation and international law. The author then describes the various entities involved in North Korean sanctions evasion activities and continues to use case studies to illustrate North Korea’s primary sanction techniques to avoid sanctions in four general areas of sanction evasion: hard drive development, limited and dual use of technology acquisitions, covert transportation and covert financing. The report is intended as a reference and learning tool for the many different practitioners who form points of contact with the global North Korean sanctions avoidance system.

This research is sponsored by the US Department of State and conducted within International Security and Defense Policy Center of RAND National Security Research Division (NSRD).

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Research Report Series. RAND reports present research results and objective analysis that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND reports undergo thorough peer review to ensure high demands on research quality and objectivity.

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