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UN Considering Oil Embargo Against North Korea

2017-09-08

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[00:00.00]
  • Members of the United Nations Security Council are considering new sanctions for North Korea in reaction to its sixth and most powerful nuclear test.
  • [00:12.69]
  • However, experts say the support of China is critical to increase pressure on the government of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
  • [00:25.17]
  • China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Thursday, “The U.N. Security Council should respond further and take necessary measures.”
  • [00:36.38]
  • But, Wang said “sanctions and pressure” must be tied to “dialogue and negotiations.”
  • [00:44.25]
  • China has said that increased restrictions will not ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
  • [00:51.71]
  • U.S. President Donald Trump spoke to Chinese President Xi Jinping about North Korea on Wednesday.
  • [01:02.67]
  • Trump said Xi agreed on the need to answer North Korea’s nuclear test, saying, “He does not want to see what is happening there either.”
  • [01:15.18]
  • On Monday, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said the 15-member UN Security Council would negotiate a version of a resolution to place new sanctions on North Korea.
  • [01:32.33]
  • She said the U.S. would seek a vote by Monday.
  • [01:38.95]
  • On August 5, the UN Security Council approved resolution 2371.
  • [01:46.78]
  • It came as the result of two long-range missile tests that North Korea carried out in July.
  • [01:56.05]
  • The UN Security Council barred North Korea from exporting coal, iron, lead and seafood, along with other restrictions.
  • [02:08.82]
  • The measures were aimed at cutting about one-third of North Korea's $3 billion in export income.
  • [02:19.13]
  • However, now there are calls to cut North Korea’s fuel imports in an effort to build pressure on its leaders.
  • [02:30.76]
  • VOA received a copy of the new proposed resolution on North Korea on Wednesday.
  • [02:38.39]
  • The proposal calls for stopping North Korean cloth and clothing exports, and seeks to put limits on North Koreans working in other countries.
  • [02:50.69]
  • But the biggest restriction would ban the sale of oil, refined petroleum products, and natural gas liquids to the North.
  • [03:02.26]
  • Support from Russia and China is needed for an oil embargo to work. Both countries are permanent members of the Security Council.
  • [03:14.50]
  • They also are energy exporters to North Korea.
  • [03:18.40]
  • On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin did not offer support to the idea of blocking North Korea’s oil imports.
  • [03:30.24]
  • Putin spoke during a meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at an economic meeting in Vladivostok, Russia.
  • [03:40.14]
  • China provides North Korea with most of its oil and gas.
  • [03:45.80]
  • Joseph DeTrani is a former special diplomat to the six party talks.
  • [03:52.96]
  • They were nuclear talks including both Koreas, China, Russia, Japan and the U.S. DeTrani says the leverage that the Chinese “have on crude oil is immense.”
  • [04:11.92]
  • But he says an oil embargo would destabilize North Korea’s economy, something China opposes.
  • [04:20.76]
  • Although China and North Korea have had strained relations, DeTrani says Chinese public support for an oil ban is unlikely.
  • [04:34.00]
  • “China doesn’t want to make North Korea a total enemy. They want to have some leverage. They don’t want to totally alienate the leadership in Pyongyang.”
  • [04:48.90]
  • Richard Bush is with the Brookings Institution’s John L. Thornton China Center.
  • [04:57.04]
  • He says China has to walk a fine line in its policies towards its eastern neighbor.
  • [05:04.29]
  • Bush says China wants to influence North Korea to stop its nuclear and missile tests.
  • [05:13.38]
  • At the same time, China worries that a complete oil embargo would cause the country to collapse.
  • [05:22.81]
  • That situation would create a refugee crisis on China’s border.
  • [05:29.73]
  • Instead, Bush says China may try to create some flexibility in possible new sanctions by setting a limit for yearly oil imports, or by slowly decreasing them.
  • [05:45.02]
  • He says China “wants to preserve its own freedom of action and flexibility, but at the same time be responsive to the concerns of the international community.”
  • [06:00.08]
  • Yun Sun is a China expert at the Stimson Center in Washington DC.
  • [06:08.36]
  • She says China has not shown that it is willing to cut off the North’s oil supplies.
  • [06:16.63]
  • She said it might press for oil exports to be considered a humanitarian exception to UN Security Council sanctions.
  • [06:28.41]
  • I’m Mario Ritter.
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