11 Sep 2017 - 1:08

Japan backs US push to target North Korea’s oil supply


Seoul:  Japan backed a US push for the United Nations Security Council to vote today on fresh sanctions against North Korea, saying that Kim Jong Un’s nuclear programme poses the most serious threat since World War II.
Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera yesterday urged tougher sanctions including curbing oil supplies to North Korea. He warned that the regime’s advances in missile technology are complicating Japan’s ability to intercept them.
“Japan’s security environment including North Korea is increasingly grave—perhaps it’s the most serious state in the post-war period,” Onodera told public broadcaster NHK. “If North Korea-bound oil, mainly coming from China, decreases through pressure by the international community, it will be difficult for North Korea to operate its missile brigades.”
President Donald Trump’s administration is pushing the Security Council to adopt a united stance as Kim gets closer to being able to strike the US with a nuclear weapon.
The US has warned that time is running out to act. North Korea detonated its sixth and most powerful nuclear bomb last Sunday, which it said was a hydrogen device. South Korea has detected moves that indicate it may soon launch another intercontinental ballistic missile.
Kim, who has said he won’t negotiate unless the US drops its “hostile policies,” threw a banquet for nuclear scientists and technicians to celebrate the hydrogen bomb test, the official Korean Central News Agency reported.
The US has circulated a draft resolution that would, aside from barring crude oil shipments to North Korea, ban the nation’s exports of textiles and prohibit employment of its guest workers by other countries, according to a diplomat at the world body. The proposal, which also calls for freezing Kim’s assets, has been sent to the 15 members of the Security Council, the diplomat said.
The US is willing to risk a veto of its proposal rather than see it watered down, according to a Security Council diplomat who asked not to be identified while negotiations are ongoing.
A halt to oil exports is far from certain. While China and Russia have condemned Kim’s actions, they have said the ultimate goal needs to be to coax him to the negotiating table and avoid a war.