The Limits of Sanctions as Instrument for Interest Actualisation in the International System: The Case of North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons Development

Eze Malachy Chukwuemeka (Lecturer)


This paper interrogates the potency of sanctions as US and UN instrument for de nuclearising DPRK and the intervening variables thereof. With the aid of secondary methods of data gathering, content analysis, and rational action theory as framework of analysis, the paper observes that sanctions failed to actualize US and UN goals in denuclearising DPRK. It further observes that this failure is attributed to the absence of most of sanctions enhancing factors in the international system such as weak economy and political instability, quick imposition with decisive maximal impact, and active participation in liberalized trade, tacit coordination of enforcement, of sanctions with manifest political appetite to enforce penalties, lack of capacity to circumvent sanctions, avoiding an overuse of sanctions, weak offshore capital, and immobility of target assets. Therefore, this paper recommends objective international engagement and integration of DPRK as a nuclear state.

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