The new strategies would intensify and coordinate efforts to track and freeze financial transactions that officials say enable the government of Kim Jong Il to profit from counterfeiting, drug trafficking and the sale of missile and other weapons technology.This seems in step with the hopes and dreams of White House hardliners—shut off North Korea's funding base and watch the regime collapse. Indeed, influential hawkish academics like Nick Eberstadt have been arguing (plausibly, I think) that all the aid we've been funneling to Pyongyang over the years has only helped prop up the regime. Fair enough, but I'm not convinced that the other countries in the region actually want to see North Korea collapse. Certainly it would be fantastic from a human rights perspective, but in the immediate aftermath, South Korea and China would receive a flood of refugees, and the inevitable downturn in SK's economy following "unification" could hit other Asian countries—especially Japan—quite hard. Which explains, I think, why SK and Japan have been quietly tossing buckets of money at Kim Jong Il's regime—it's not appeasement or an attempt to ward off aggression per se; it's an attempt to avert an economic disaster.
Some officials describe the steps as building blocks for what could turn into a broader quarantine if American allies in Asia - particularly China and South Korea - can be convinced that Mr. Kim's declaration on nuclear weapons last week means he must finally be forced to choose between disarmament and even deeper isolation. China and South Korea have been reluctant to impose penalties on the North.