US strategy to counter the North Korea’s nuclear program may include sanctions against the country’s oil imports and state airline.
Washington has developed a multi-level strategy to counter the North Korea’s nuclear program, the Reuters news agency reported, citing unnamed US officials. Reportedly, the priority in containment measures is given to diplomatic, but not military methods.
As the news agency reported, on April 12, US President Donald Trump approved the US strategy on the North Korea’s nuclear program. According to Reuters’ sources, an extensive list of measures that the US can use against North Korea, depending on its actions, has been developed.
US officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, insisted that military containment measures are not a priority, and, currently, the Trump’s administration considers primarily economic and diplomatic methods to influence North Korea. As the news agency noted, some part of the measures can be used by the US unilaterally, while others can be carried out through the UN.
The measures include an embargo on supply of oil to North Korea, a global ban on the flights of the Air Koryo state airline, limitation of exports of seafood from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), as well as pressure on Pyongyang through assets of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and his family.
Restrictive measures on work of North Korean citizens under a contract abroad, as well as extended restrictions on export of coal up to complete stoppage of all supplies can be imposed under the aegis of the UN.
Trump himself in an interview with the Wall Street Journal said that he is currently concentrated on cooperation with Beijing in countering the development of the North Korean nuclear program, as China is the main trading partner of the DPRK and has a strong economic influence on the country.
Less than a week after a meeting between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, the two leaders had a phone conversation on Wednesday, where among other things they discussed the North Korean threat.
“President Xi wants to do the right thing. We had a very good bonding, I think we had a very good chemistry together, I think he wants to help us with North Korea,” the US President said. “We talked trade, we talked a lot of things, and I said the way you’re going to make a good trade deal is to help us with North Korea, otherwise we’re just going to go it alone, that’ll be all right too, but going it alone means going with lots of other nations,” Trump added.
At the same time, the Chinese President stressed that Beijing is committed to the “denuclearization” of the Korean Peninsula but “insists on preserving peace and stability.”
“China advocates to resolve the issue through peaceful means, and is willing to maintain communication and coordination with the US on the Korean Peninsula issue,” the Times magazine quoted President Xi’s words.
Beijing has already started to apply economic pressure on Pyongyang by refusing to import Pyongyang’s coal.
“I really think that China’s going to try very hard and has already started. A lot of the coal boats have already been turned back,” Trump told the Fox TV-channel on Wednesday, noting that “that’s a big step.”
The Chinese Global Times newspaper also reported that China is going to support harsher UN sanctions against North Korea, including “strictly limiting” oil exports to the country.
While China insists on a peaceful solution, the US continues to flex its muscles in the region. Last week, the Pentagon rerouted its Carl Vinson towards the Korean peninsula in a show of force.
“We are sending an armada. Very powerful,” Trump told Fox. “We have submarines. Very powerful. Far more powerful than the aircraft carrier. That I can tell you.”
Reuters reminded that on April 15, North Korea will widely celebrate 105 years since the birth of Kim Il-sung. About 200 foreign journalists will gather in Pyongyang on this day to celebrate the national holiday ‘Day of the Sun’. The news agency noted that in 2012, Pyongyang tried to test a ballistic missile on that day, but the launch was unsuccessful. North Korean officials do not comment on the upcoming event and do not disclose details of the festive ceremony.
On April 11, North Korea warned the US that it would use nuclear weapons in response to any military threat. The US and North Korea are formally at war since the Korean War of 1950-1953 ended in a truce, but not with the signing of a peace treaty.