North Korea fuel prices surge after China cuts oil supplies

Andrew Cummings
July 18, 2017

Washington has also been pushing to impose fresh sanctions on Pyongyang by drawing up a U.N. Security Council resolution and targeting foreign firms doing business with the North.

"There is no military solution to the threat of a nuclear North Korea", said Markey who is the ranking Democrat on the East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Subcommittee.

The bill would ensure companies working with North Korea are locked out of the American financial system by making the White House "block all transactions that are property of the North Korean government, affiliates, or those that do significant business with North Korea", "block any entity or financial institution implicated in any significant trade in goods or services with North Korea from the US financial system" and "prohibit any goods made with North Korean labor from entering the United States and to impose sanctions of all entities implicated in North Korean labor trafficking". The announcements came after North Korea signaled a willingness to consider Moon's overtures, despite voicing skepticism about the prospects for a breakthrough.

This growing threat of a conflict and North Korea's increasing belligerence should serve to strengthen ties, bilaterally and trilaterally, between Washington, Tokyo, and Seoul.

The last time the Koreas held official talks was in December 2015.

CNPC declined to comment on Monday when asked by Reuters if fuel sales to North Korea had resumed.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Monday offered formal talks with Mr. Kim's regime. Kim Jong Il, meanwhile, sent his premier, spy chief and other top officials to Seoul for talks.

Last month, the European Union expanded its sanctions blacklist after North Korea launched a volley of surface-to-ship cruise missiles off its east coast.

While the two Koreas have a history of failing to follow through on some rapprochement agreements struck during their rare talks, any dialogue between the rivals is considered a positive step toward easing tensions. Since no truce was agreed, the two sides remain technically at war.

Funding and labor for the base, which will eventually replace Yongsan as the main U.S. military base in South Korea, has been mostly provided by Seoul.

North Korea will likely accept Moon's proposed talks on easing border animosities, as it's something that it's previously called for. Unlike trying to hit the USA mainland, a target more than 5,000 miles away, Seoul and Tokyo, 121 miles and 798 miles respectively from the North Korean capital, present easier and similarly high-value targets, especially given both cities' sizable populations. The U.S. military has a strong presence in both countries, with more than 60,000 troops stationed at various bases throughout Japan and South Korea.

Cho also urged restoration of cross-border military and government hotlines that North Korea cut past year in response to South Korea's imposition of new economic sanctions after a nuclear test by Pyongyang. North Korea is seen as worrying that doing so could open the country to influence from more affluent South Korea and threaten the ruling party's grip on power.

South Korean officials have long called for holding reunions more regularly and expanding the number of people taking part.

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