How to Really Turn the Screws on North Korea

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his daughter. (Photo by KIM Jae-Hwan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

North Korea has been on a tear lately. In 2022 the country has already conducted the most missile tests ever in a calendar year while providing material support to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Last week state media showed North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspecting the trial launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile, the country’s longest-range weapon.

The U.S. and its allies can best respond to such provocations by rebuilding a diplomatic coalition to stand against the Kim regime, and, most importantly, restoring a once robust sanctions campaign. The alternative is to sit passively as the North Korean dictator continues testing missiles and preparing for his country’s seventh nuclear test. 

The U.S. pressure campaign on North Korea consists of three parts: military, diplomatic, and economic.

The Biden administration deserves credit for reversing his predecessor’s misguided decision to halt and reduce U.S.-South Korea military exercises. A U.S. aircraft carrier also visited South Korea for the first time in four years as a show of force against Pyongyang’s actions. Biden recently hinted to Chinese President Xi Jinping that North Korea’s behavior would lead to a greater U.S. military presence in the region. Yet increasing diplomatic and financial pressure on Pyongyang in concrete ways will do more to get Xi’s attention.

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