US seeks Chinese ban on oil exports to N. Korea

January 22, 2016 10:49 am 

WASHINGTON, Jan. 22 — The United States has sounded out china and other countries about banning oil exports to North Korea as part of new UN sanctions against Pyongyang's fourth nuclear test earlier this month, a diplomatic source said Thursday.

The United States has also proposed to them banning mineral resource imports from North Korea and denying overflights to Air Koryo planes in their airspace, the source said. Air Koryo is Pyongyang's official airline operator.

Iron ore and anthracite are known as a major source of foreign currency income for North Korea.

Even if such measures were adopted at the UN Security Council, they would not be effective unless china implemented them. China is one of the five permanent members of the Security Council and the main diplomatic and economic benefactor of North Korea.

Observers said such measures effectively serve as pressure on Beijing to punish Pyongyang over its Jan. 6 test, which was conducted in violation of existing Security Council resolutions on the country.

Washington is throwing a hardball at Beijing in a bid to get the Security Council to adopt a new resolution for robust sanctions against North Korea, they said.

Among other envisaged punitive measures, Washington is advocating imposing bans on some North Korean vessels from entering any port around the world, and expanding the number of North Korean individuals and groups subject to sanctions on a Security Council-designated list, according to the source.

Washington is calling for including about 30 individuals and groups on its financial sanctions list in the Security Council-designated list currently covering 12 individuals and 20 groups, the source said.

After holding several rounds of talks with China, the United States, which is crafting a new draft Security Council sanctions resolution on North Korea, is expected to present the draft to permanent and non-permanent members of the council.

US Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to discuss the issue with Chinese officials during his planned visit to China from Wednesday.

However, Beijing is unlikely to give a nod to Washington's proposed sanction measures as they are because they are effectively tantamount to an economic blockade against Pyongyang.

China recognizes the need for a fresh sanctions resolution against North Korea. But Beijing has been cautious about slapping powerful sanctions for fear they may destabilize its impoverished neighbor.

China's priority is avoiding destabilizing North Korea, which it regards as a "strategic buffer" to curb US influence in Northeast Asia, according to experts on China-North Korea relations.(PNA/Kyodo)

JBP/PJN

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