US Asks China to Cut Off Oil Supply to North Korea

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China should cut off North Korea’s access to crude oil following the latest missile launch from Pyongyang, and Washington has asked it to do just that, the US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said, adding that “if war comes, make no mistake, the North Korean regime will be utterly destroyed.”

The US has for months insisted that more radical measures be taken against the North Korean regime, but Beijing has been reluctant to step up the pressure too much, wary of bringing a refugee crisis on its own head in case of an open military conflict in the region.

Haley’s warning comes on the heels of the third intercontinental missile test launch that North Korea announced earlier this week, claiming now its missiles can hit any location in the United States. North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-Un said this test showed that North Korea had become a full nuclear power.

Haley called on all nations to sever all ties with North Korea and continued with the warnings saying if China did not cut off its oil supply to North Korea, the US would “take the oil situation into our own hands," suggesting a further escalation of tensions in the region.

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Russia’s ambassador to the UN this time chimed in, saying the latest missile test was an example of yet another demonstrative disregard of Security Council resolutions, and as such deserved “the most resolute condemnation.” He added, however, that sanctions—Washington’s go-to response to such situations—should not be a goal in themselves and should be used carefully to avoid worsening the humanitarian situation in North Korea.

Chinese oil supplies to the pariah state are its lifeline, which is why they have been the topic of negotiations between the US and China ever since Pyongyang started testing nuclear ballistic missiles. North Korea has been buying oil from Russia as well but in much smaller amounts and continues to be dependent on Chinese supplies. The US already imposed unilateral sanctions on Pyongyang, but these seem to have failed to make any difference in the regime’s plans for turning into a nuclear power.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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