North Korea’s successful test of a medium-range missile, which landed in the ocean between Russia and Japan, has President Trump pushing for massive new sanctions against North Korea. That’s the official narrative out of DC, at least. In practice, President Trump was already pushing the sanctions before the test, and now is presenting the test as an after-the-fact pretext.
The White House presented the test as a threat to “all nations,” and in particular played up the fact that it landed closest to the Russian coast, suggesting that Russia ought to be very angry about it, and join the push for sanctions. Russia and China tend to oppose US pushes for such sanctions.
Russia doesn’t see it at all that way, anyhow, with the Defense Ministry noting the missile posed no danger, and landed some 500 kilometers away from the Russian shoreline. Russia’s concerns on North Korea recently have centered around concerns President Trump might attack them unilaterally.
And while President Trump talks up “far stronger” sanctions, the reality is that North Korea is so isolated as it is by all the existing sanctions, its not at all clear what else can be targeted. US efforts are mostly focusing on threatening foreign businesses that have nominal ties to North Korea, but this seems unlikely to add significant pressure to Pyongyang’s government, and seems mostly to be done for show.
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