Tags: North Korea | united nations | oil supply | support | south korea | japan

China Reluctant to Back Oil Embargo on North Korea

Image: China Reluctant to Back Oil Embargo on North Korea
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (AP)

By    |   Monday, 11 Sep 2017 02:03 PM

Despite strong support from the U.S., South Korea and Japan for the United Nations to cut off North Korea's crude oil supply as punishment for its latest nuclear test, opposition from China for a full embargo has led to a watering down of the resolution to only a cap on oil exports to Pyongyang, The Washington Post reported on Monday.

Although China also is upset at Pyongyang's adventurism, Beijing is apparently worried that causing more instability in North Korea by cutting off such a vital commodity will harm Chinese interests, such as refugees fleeing into the country or American troops moving closer to its borders.

The position of Beijing is vital on this issue, because approximately 90 percent of North Korean trade goes through China, which is also North Korea's main source of fuel.

"Beijing has multiple, complex strategic considerations," Michael Kovrig, a senior adviser at the International Crisis Group, told The Washington Post. "It wants to send a message to Kim Jong Un that his nuclear program is unacceptable and to punish bad behavior, but it does not want to trigger North Korea's collapse or turn its neighbor into a permanent enemy."

But Choi Kang, vice president of research and principal fellow at The Asan Institute for Policy Studies, told CNBC's "Squawk Box" that the danger in this way of thinking is that if an oil embargo does not materialize, North Korea will likely think that whatever it does, "'China [and Russia] will be on our side. We can do all the way.' Maybe the next step will be an ICBM test with a nuclear warhead."

Lee Soo-hyuck, a South Korean lawmaker who has been his country's representative in talks with Pyongyang, appeared to agree with Choi's analysis, telling the Post that "If there's a total embargo, that would be a good step. But setting a cap on crude oil exports to North Korea is meaningless."

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Despite strong support from the U.S., South Korea and Japan for the United Nations to cut off North Korea's crude oil supply as punishment for its latest nuclear test, opposition from China for a full embargo has led to a watering down of the resolution to only a cap on oil...
united nations, oil supply, support, south korea, japan
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2017-03-11
Monday, 11 Sep 2017 02:03 PM
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