U.S., ROK call for an oil embargo against North Korea


Following U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley’s call on Monday to adopt the toughest sanctions ever against Pyongyang, Scoop has learned that the Trump administration will ask the U.N. to consider an oil embargo to punish the rogue state for flouting the organization’s Security Council’s resolutions at every opportunity.

According to our sources, the White House will also push for the assets of Kim Jong-un to be frozen and for a travel ban to be imposed upon him. North Korean exports of textiles could also be banned while the country’s citizens could be prevented from working abroad.

Seoul has tried to lean on Moscow to support the new set of sanctions but the Kremlin continues to reject an approach which has consistently proven ineffective. Additional sanctions, in Vladimir Putin’s view, are a complete waste of time and sanctions alone will definitely not solve the North Korea issue.

“[…] it is clear that it is impossible to resolve the problem of the Korean peninsula only by sanctions and pressure,” he said on Friday during a news conference.

However, this does not mean that the Russian president approves of Pyongyang’s increasingly more frequent violations of the U.N. Security Council’s resolutions.

“Pyongyang’s missile and nuclear program is a crude violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions, undermines the non-proliferation regime and creates a threat to the security of northeastern Asia,” Mr. Putin added at the time.

On Wednesday, South Korean President Moon Jae-In and Mr. Putin met on the fringes of an economic forum in Vladivostok to discuss the North Korea crisis. Like the Trump administration, Moon urged the Russian president to consider an oil embargo.

“In order to compel North Korea to come to the dialogue table, U.N. sanctions must be strengthened. Now it is inevitable to cut off oil supplies to the North. We hope Russia will cooperate as well,” President Moon told his Russian counterpart.

Moscow is unlikely to back the embargo. According to Moon’s aide Yuri Ushakov, Mr. Putin said he was concerned that cutting off oil supplies to the rogue regime would affect hospitals and put lives at risk.

Mr. Putin added that he would continue to pursue a political solution and that all parties should do their best not to inflame the situation.

“Today, as never before, everyone needs to show composure and avoid steps that lead to an escalation of tensions. It would be extremely difficult to advance the situation at hand without political and diplomatic instruments. It is not worth giving into emotions and driving North Korea into a corner,” the Russian president stressed.

The Trump administration is pushing for a U.N. vote to be held as soon as Monday.