China’s Ministry of Commerce on Thursday said that Beijing will manage trade issues with North Korea, including the supply of crude oil, in a way that it believes will maintain peace and stability on the Korean peninsula.
“We will continue to help to realize the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and to deal with economic and trade issues in a way that contributes to maintaining peace and stability on the Korean peninsula,” Gao Feng, a spokesperson for the ministry, said at a regular press briefing.
“China has always comprehensively and strictly implemented the relevant UN Security Council resolution… And we are fulfilling our due international obligations.”
Gao made the comments in response to a question about a potential oil embargo and additional sanctions on Pyongyang in response to North Korea’s sixth nuclear test on Sunday.
The statement comes the day a leaked draft sanctions resolution revealed the UN is considering heavy new sanctions that would prohibit all oil product sales to North Korea, as well as stopping member states hiring DPRK laborers, purchasing its textiles, and operating joint venture businesses in the country.
In particular, member states would be prohibited from direct and indirect “sales or transfer” of all “crude oil, condensates, refined petroleum products, and natural gas liquids,” something North Korean authorities appear to have been preparing for since April.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed on Thursday to pursue a fresh UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution “which contains more powerful sanctions against North Korea” including prohibitions on the supply of crude oil, South Korea’s presidential office said.
The two leaders held a one-on-one meeting on the sidelines of the third Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok.
“Both leaders will persuade China and Russia… to stop the supplies of crude oil to North Korea,” Yoon Young-chan, senior presidential secretary for public relations for the Blue House, said in a statement.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, however, on Wednesday expressed opposition to proposals to cut off oil supplies to North Korea, saying he was concerned such an approach would “hurt civilians.”
Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin on Wednesday suggested the U.S. would move to impose further secondary sanctions against foreign entities linked to North Korea if new sanctions were not approved by the UNSC.
“I have an executive order prepared. It’s ready to go to the President. It will authorize me to stop doing trade, and put sanctions on anybody that does trade with North Korea,” Mnuchin told reporters aboard Air Force One flying back to Washington from North Dakota. “The President will consider that at the appropriate time once he gives the UN time to act.”
“We believe that we need to economically cut off North Korea,” he said.
Trump also announced on social media on Sunday that among possible responses to North Korea’s latest underground nuclear test, Washington is considering cutting off trade with any country doing business with the DPRK.
“The United States is considering, in addition to other options, stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea,” the President said.
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured Image: Ministry of Commerce of People’s Republic of China
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