By September 12, 2017 Read More →

US waters down North Korea sanctions, omits oil embargo

North Korea sanctions

Pushing back against North Korea sanctions, the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said “In case the U.S. eventually does rig up the illegal and unlawful ‘resolution’ on harsher sanctions, the DPRK shall make absolutely sure that the U.S. pays a due price.” Reuters/KCNA photo.

North Korea sanctions punishment for sixth nuclear test

UN Security Council sanctions designed to penalize North Korea for its sixth and most powerful nuclear test has been watered down by the US.  A proposed oil embargo and the freezing of Kim Jong Un’s assets were omitted from the United Nations plan.

The UK and France are on board with the latest proposal, but it is unclear whether Russia and China, two other veto-holding members of the UN Security Council, will back the text as it stands, according to a European diplomat who asked not to be identified.

The draft resolution would cap shipments of refined petroleum products at 2 million barrels per year and limit crude oil exports to current levels, said the diplomat.

The US Energy Information Administration says China supplies most of North Korea’s crude, estimated to be about 10,000 barrels per day (b/d).  It is believed that China also sends about 6,000 b/d of oil products to the isolated country, according to EIA estimates.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in the past that North Koreans would rather “eat grass” than give up their nuclear weapons.  China is concerned that strong sanctions would cut off Kim’s economic lifeline which could collapse his regime.

China is North Korea’s largest ally and trading partner.

Despite China’s support for North Korea, it does agree a response from the UN Security Council to North Korea’s nuclear test is required, according to Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang.

“We hope that the members of the council will reach a consensus on the basis of full consultation and make a voice of solidarity,” he said.

North Korea warned it would retaliate if the UN approves the US proposal for harsher sanctions.

The state-run Korean Central News Agency, citing a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said “The forthcoming measures to be taken by the DPRK will cause the U.S. the greatest pain and suffering it had ever gone through in its entire history.”

Despite the rhetoric, it appears both sides may be looking for a diplomatic solution.  Japan’s Nippon Television reports North Korean foreign ministry officials may have held informal talks with former US officials in Switzerland on Monday.

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