International sanctions on North Korea could produce structural reforms that boost long-term economic growth in the pariah state.
Pyongyang's frequent acts of nuclear aggression have earned the isolated country multiple penalties from the United Nations and the United States, including heavy restrictions on trade and financial transactions. Earlier this month, Washington imposed additional punishments for the use of a banned nerve agent that the White House says was used to assassinate leader Kim Jong Un's half-brother.
These sanctions actually "provide a narrow pathway for reforms that could unshackle the economy," according to William Brown, adjunct professor at Georgetown University.
Overseas aid organizations and the U.N. should use sanctions leverage as a means to demand market and productivity enhancing reforms, Brown wrote in a new report published by The National Committee on North Korea, a Washington-based non-governmental organization.
Kim's government "may be more interested in systemic reform than it has previously been, given its need for hard currency and the dangers it must understand are coming from the increasingly dollarized economy," Brown said.