How the West’s ‘maximum pressure’ campaign on North Korean regime failed

Pyongyang is finding ways around sanctions to keep developing its weapons programme

There are fears that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s renewed fervour for the doctrine of self-reliance developed by his grandfather Kim Il Sung is laying the ground for years of deepening isolation. Photograph: Jung Yeon-Je/AFP via Getty Images

There are fears that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s renewed fervour for the doctrine of self-reliance developed by his grandfather Kim Il Sung is laying the ground for years of deepening isolation. Photograph: Jung Yeon-Je/AFP via Getty Images

For decades, Kuwait was a critical hub in North Korea’s network of foreign outposts. Every year, thousands of labourers would take an Air Koryo flight from Pyongyang via Islamabad before being dispatched to construction sites across the oil-rich Gulf state or elsewhere in the Middle East and Africa.

At its peak, the sweat of about 100,000 overseas workers generated as much as $500 million in hard currency a year for the nuclear-armed regime, according to US government estimates.

The Irish Times
Please subscribe or sign in to continue reading.
The Irish Times

How can I keep reading?

You’ve reached an article that is only available to Irish Times subscribers.

Subscribe today and get the full picture for just €1 for the first month.

Subscribe No obligation, cancel any time.