Tillerson to China: Use oil as leverage over NKorea

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LONDON: US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Thursday (Friday in Manila) urged China to use the oil it supplies to North Korea as leverage to pressure the isolated nation into reconsidering its nuclear program.

The UN Security Council unanimously imposed on Monday an eighth set of sanctions on North Korea after its latest nuclear test, banning it from trading in textiles and restricting oil imports.

Washington had called for tougher restrictions, including an oil embargo, in response to Pyongyang’s sixth and most powerful nuclear blast.

But the US softened its stance in order to secure the backing of China and Russia, which could have vetoed the proposal.

“It’s clear with respect to oil and a complete embargo from the Security Council, that’s going to be very difficult,” Tillerson said, standing alongside his UK counterpart Boris Johnson.

The US secretary of state said it would be up to China alone to decide “to use the very powerful tool of oil supply to pressure North Korea” into reconsidering its approach to dialogue.

Johnson said sanctions were a way of “maximizing the pressure on North Korea to reach a diplomatic solution,” calling for the “complete and irreversible” denuclearization of the Korean peninsular.

AFP

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