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N. Korea forecast to suffer severe economic trouble from March: state-run institute

All Headlines 15:14 December 18, 2017

SEOUL, Dec. 18 (Yonhap) -- As the strongest ever international sanctions begin to take effect, North Korea is expected to start suffering from severe economic difficulties around March next year, a state-run think tank said Monday.

"In addition to further toughened sanctions, an increase in North Korea's investment in conventional forces in the aftermath of military pressure stemming from the (Korean) deployment of American strategic assets is forecast to hit the North Korean economy seriously sometime after March next year," the Institute for National Security Strategy said in its 2018 prediction for North Korea. The institute is a research arm of the National Intelligence Service.

"March has been pinned for the timing for the (United Nations Security Sanction) Resolution 2375 adopted in September to take effect, given the U.N. sanctions committee's position that the effects of sanctions begin to be seen six to twelve months after their introduction," the institute noted.

Despite expected economic difficulties, it remains to be seen whether North Korea will reverse its position clinging to nuclear weapons development, according to the think tank.

"North Korea may put further focus on building the economy while holding on to its policy line of becoming the most powerful nuclear state," it said.

North Korea, however, is presumed to use South Korea's hosting of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics as an opportunity to offer dialogue with South Korea, the institute predicted.

It also forecast that North Korea could go for additional military provocations if the fence-mending attempt ends in failure, possibly a test to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile as far as possible, a test launch of a submarine-launched ballistic missile or even its seventh nuclear test.

On whether the North would join the 2018 Winter Olympics to be held in South Korea, the institute said, "All the steps for participation have been completed except for (leader) Kim Jong-un's final decision."

pbr@yna.co.kr
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