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THE INVESTOR

Politics & North Korea

UN sanctions likely to target NK oil supply

  • PUBLISHED :September 11, 2017 - 17:16
  • UPDATED :September 11, 2017 - 17:16
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[THE INVESTOR] North Korea on Sept. 11 warned of a “last resort” attack against the US, ahead of UN Security Council’s deliberation on the latest US-led sanctions against the regime.  

The UNSC is set to deliberate on the resolution drafted by the US on Sept. 11, and Washington and Beijing are said to be wrangling over clauses that would limit the supply of oil to North Korea. 

According to local news reports citing unnamed diplomatic sources, the latest sanctions are likely to include some measures limiting the inflow of crude oil into North Korea.

One unnamed source claimed that “effectual” measures for controlling the oil supply are likely to be included, while another was quoted as saying that China and Russia were considered unlikely to exercise their rights to veto a resolution. 

Cutting off North Korea’s oil supplies has recently gained support as the most effective means to restrain Pyongyang, and to prevent further nuclear and missile provocations. 

However, the plan has met resistance from Pyongyang’s biggest oil suppliers -- China and Russia -- who have raised concerns over the negative impact on hospitals and other unrelated areas. Faced with opposition, the US is said to be working on a compromise that would reduce oil supply in stages, similar to the sanctions applied to North Korea’s coal exports. 

The UN sanctions adopted in January last year called for prohibiting coal exports if such actions were linked to the development of weapons of mass destruction. Measures introduced in September last year set the ceiling on Pyongyang’s coal exports to the smaller amount of $400 million or 7.5 million metric tons. 

While the likelihood of tougher sanctions grows, Pyongyang has stepped up its rhetoric defying the international community and threatening the US. 

In the early hours of Monday, the North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement saying that the US will experience “unprecedented troubles” should new sanctions be imposed. 

Accusing the US of manipulating the UNSC, the statement said that the US will “pay a price corresponding to the harsher sanctions.”

Claiming that North Korea is “ready to take any final resort,” the North Korean Foreign Ministry hinted at a series of provocations.

“The world will see how we take strong actions, unimagined by the US, in succession to deal with the US,” the statement said.

Although it is unclear what form “final resort” will take, concerns are rising that North Korea could conduct further missile launches that would pose a direct threat to the US. 

North Korea is thought to possess missiles capable of reaching over 8,000 kilometers, which would place Hawaii and the west coast of the continental US at risk. 

With North Korea continuing provocations, the latest of which came in the form of a nuclear weapons test on Sept. 3, calls for stationing the US’ tactical nuclear weapons in South Korea have risen in both Seoul and the US.

Here, the idea is being championed by the conservative main opposition Liberty Korea Party. The move, which has largely been discredited in the US, may be gaining some traction in the US. 

In an interview with CNN on Sept. 10, Sen. John McCain, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said that he thought “it ought to be seriously considered.” 

McCain also stated that the US must make it known to North Korea that the price of aggression against the US is “extinction.” 

By Choi He-suk/The Korea Herald (cheesuk@heraldcorp.com)
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