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S. Korea, US mull secondary boycott option for N. Korea

By Kim Rahn

South Korea and the United States are discussing a "secondary boycott" option in their effort to deal with North Korea's nuclear and missile threats, Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said Monday.

Speaking before the National Assembly Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee, Kang said the two allies have been mulling over the measure, which imposes penalties on companies or individuals in China or other countries doing business with the North, as part of countermeasures to Pyongyang's launch of an alleged intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

The secondary boycott is considered one of the last-remaining, effective measures against the Kim Jong-un regime. It was used in dealing with Iran's nuclear issue and the country eventually accepted a deal.

"The U.S. seems to participating in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) discussion with a basic stance of putting maximum economic pressure on the North, either through the UNSC or on its own," Kang said. "If the U.S. is unsatisfied with the outcome of the UNSC negotiations, it may actively consider its own sanctions," she said indicating the secondary boycott.

She added the U.S. would closely cooperate with South Korea if it plans to adopt the measure.

Besides the U.S. move, the international community is seeking to include an oil embargo in a new round of sanctions on North Korea, officials said.

The suspension of its fuel supply would be the heaviest ever pressure on Pyongyang's economy and military activities along with the secondary boycott.

However, adopting the measure faces the obstacle of consent from China, a permanent member of the UNSC, as Beijing has been opposed to cutting fuel supplies to its "ally."

A ranking government official said the international community is "seriously discussing" the fuel embargo as part of additional sanctions.

"The UNSC members are talking about it," the official said on condition of anonymity. "We need to see what resolution the UNSC will adopt."

But the official said even if the new UNSC resolution includes the fuel embargo, it may exclude oil supplies for humanitarian purposes.

The latest sanctions resolution, adopted in November, was said to be the strongest as it limited the North's sales of coal, iron ore and conventional weapons, but did not include an oil embargo.

President Moon Jae-in, U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for the early adoption of a new UNSC resolution with additional sanctions against Pyongyang's provocations.

"They (the three leaders) called on the international community to swiftly and fully implement all UNSC resolutions and to take measures to reduce economic relations with North Korea," a joint statement read Friday.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikkie Haley also said the North's ICBM test-firing was "hugely dangerous" for her country and its allies. In a speech at the U.N. after the missile launch, Haley mentioned the option of cutting fuel supplies to the North.

"We can restrict the flow of oil to their military and their weapons program. We can increase air and maritime restrictions. We can hold senior regime officials accountable," she said.

The fuel embargo, however, is expected to face opposition from China and Russia, and if the two UNSC permanent members disagree on it, the issue cannot be included in new sanctions.

Beijing, perhaps Pyongyang's only ally, has been negative about any oil cut which could wreak havoc on the North Korean people's lives and further help diminish the regime.

The North imports 99 percent of its oil from China. Chinese President Xi Jinping said during his summit with Moon last week that China and North Korea have a "blood alliance."

Beijing has joined other countries in condemning Pyongyang for its latest provocation but fell short of unveiling anything definitive regarding sanctions.

Russia has also not been active in pressuring North Korea; on Thursday, it objected to a UNSC condemnation of Pyongyang's ICBM launch by claiming the missile was an intermediate-range ballistic missile.

Washington is expected to ramp up its pressure on Beijing and Moscow to enforce more effective sanctions against the North.

Targeting China and Russia, Haley said, "We will not look exclusively at North Korea. We will look at any country that chooses to do business with this outlaw regime."

In late June, the U.S. cut off the Bank of Dandong, a Chinese lender, from its financial system for helping finance companies involved in North Korea's weapons program.

By Kim Rahn

South Korea and the United States are discussing a "secondary boycott" option in their effort to deal with North Korea's nuclear and missile threats, Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said Monday.

Speaking before the National Assembly Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee, Kang said the two allies have been mulling over the measure, which imposes penalties on companies or individuals in China or other countries doing business with the North, as part of countermeasures to Pyongyang's launch of an alleged intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

The secondary boycott is considered one of the last-remaining, effective measures against the Kim Jong-un regime. It was used in dealing with Iran's nuclear issue and the country eventually accepted a deal.

"The U.S. seems to participating in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) discussion with a basic stance of putting maximum economic pressure on the North, either through the UNSC or on its own," Kang said. "If the U.S. is unsatisfied with the outcome of the UNSC negotiations, it may actively consider its own sanctions," she said indicating the secondary boycott.

She added the U.S. would closely cooperate with South Korea if it plans to adopt the measure.

Besides the U.S. move, the international community is seeking to include an oil embargo in a new round of sanctions on North Korea, officials said.

The suspension of its fuel supply would be the heaviest ever pressure on Pyongyang's economy and military activities along with the secondary boycott.

However, adopting the measure faces the obstacle of consent from China, a permanent member of the UNSC, as Beijing has been opposed to cutting fuel supplies to its "ally."

A ranking government official said the international community is "seriously discussing" the fuel embargo as part of additional sanctions.

"The UNSC members are talking about it," the official said on condition of anonymity. "We need to see what resolution the UNSC will adopt."

But the official said even if the new UNSC resolution includes the fuel embargo, it may exclude oil supplies for humanitarian purposes.

The latest sanctions resolution, adopted in November, was said to be the strongest as it limited the North's sales of coal, iron ore and conventional weapons, but did not include an oil embargo.

President Moon Jae-in, U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for the early adoption of a new UNSC resolution with additional sanctions against Pyongyang's provocations.

"They (the three leaders) called on the international community to swiftly and fully implement all UNSC resolutions and to take measures to reduce economic relations with North Korea," a joint statement read Friday.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikkie Haley also said the North's ICBM test-firing was "hugely dangerous" for her country and its allies. In a speech at the U.N. after the missile launch, Haley mentioned the option of cutting fuel supplies to the North.

"We can restrict the flow of oil to their military and their weapons program. We can increase air and maritime restrictions. We can hold senior regime officials accountable," she said.

The fuel embargo, however, is expected to face opposition from China and Russia, and if the two UNSC permanent members disagree on it, the issue cannot be included in new sanctions.

Beijing, perhaps Pyongyang's only ally, has been negative about any oil cut which could wreak havoc on the North Korean people's lives and further help diminish the regime.

The North imports 99 percent of its oil from China. Chinese President Xi Jinping said during his summit with Moon last week that China and North Korea have a "blood alliance."

Beijing has joined other countries in condemning Pyongyang for its latest provocation but fell short of unveiling anything definitive regarding sanctions.

Russia has also not been active in pressuring North Korea; on Thursday, it objected to a UNSC condemnation of Pyongyang's ICBM launch by claiming the missile was an intermediate-range ballistic missile.

Washington is expected to ramp up its pressure on Beijing and Moscow to enforce more effective sanctions against the North.

Targeting China and Russia, Haley said, "We will not look exclusively at North Korea. We will look at any country that chooses to do business with this outlaw regime."

In late June, the U.S. cut off the Bank of Dandong, a Chinese lender, from its financial system for helping finance companies involved in North Korea's weapons program.

Kim Rahn rahnita@koreatimes.co.kr

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