Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced sanctions after her and US Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ visit to the Demilitarized Zone separating North and South Korea. She said the measures would target Pyongyang's sale and purchase of arms and import of luxury goods, and would help prevent nuclear proliferation.
Mrs. Clinton added that the sanctions were not directed at the North Korean people but at the "misguided and malign priorities of their government".Mrs Clinton said she expected North Korea to "take certain steps that would acknowledge their responsibility" for the sinking of the Cheonan warship in March of this year, and to move towards denuclearization.
McClatchy describes all this as a “a diplomatic dance … in a display of solidarity intended to calm South Korean concerns about the American commitment.”
Analysts doubt if new U.S. sanctions will seriously go beyond those already imposed by the U.N. Security Council more than a year ago after North Korea conducted its second underground nuclear test.
"I don't really think there's anything new," said Han Sung-joo, a former South Korean foreign minister, noting that the U.N. sanctions already ban North Korea from importing or exporting weapons and also from importing luxury goods for the North Korean elite.