Seoul, Tokyo to cooperate in persuading China, Russia to cut NK’s oil supply

By Choi He-suk

Moon, Abe emphasize need for multilateral cooperation on North Korea

  • Published : Sept 7, 2017 - 17:57
  • Updated : Sept 7, 2017 - 21:44
South Korean President Moon Jae-in continued seeking ways to cut North Korea’s oil supply on Thursday, in the face of resistance from Pyongyang’s biggest suppliers: China and Russia.

In his meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Moon received confirmation that Tokyo supports his plans. 

President Moon Jae-in delivers a speech during a session of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia, Thursday. (Yonhap)

“The two leaders agreed that sanctions and pressure must be strengthened as much as possible, and to cooperate in facilitating (the adoption of) tougher UN Security Council sanctions including cutting crude oil supply,” Seoul’s chief presidential press officer Yoon Young-chan said. 

“In particular, the two leaders agreed to do their best in persuading China and Russia to participate in the sanctions to cut off North Korea’s crude oil supply.”

China and Russia are North Korea’s main trading partners and suppliers of fuel. 

South Korean President Moon Jae-in (right) and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hold a summit meeting in Vladivostok, Russia on Thursday. (Yonhap)

“The two countries must cooperate with the international community, and apply maximum sanctions and pressure to make North Korea give up missile and nuclear (programs), while seeking peaceful solutions,” Yoon quoted Moon.

According to Yoon, Abe agreed on the need for stronger steps, saying he would try to persuade China and Russia to include stronger measures in the new US Security Council resolutions.

Seoul and Tokyo’s foreign ministers echoed their leaders’ comments in separate ministerial talks also held in Vladivostok.

At their meeting, South Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs Kang Kyung-wha and Japan’s Taro Kono said that close cooperation among Seoul, Washington and Tokyo is paramount in dealing with North Korea. The two ministers also agreed to communicate with China and Russia to enlist their support.

While cutting off oil is considered to be one of the last remaining options in pressuring North Korea to cease nuclear and missile provocations, Beijing and Moscow have been reluctant in taking the step.

While Russian President Vladimir Putin condemned North Korea for its latest nuclear test conducted Sunday, and said that Russia would not accept North Korea as a nuclear state, he has maintained that further sanctions would prove ineffective.

Following his meeting with Moon on Wednesday, Putin effectively rejected the idea citing concerns for adverse effects on the private sector. 

Aside from North Korean issues, Moon and Abe agreed on establishing “future-oriented and practical” relations, and to manage outstanding historical issues in a “stable” manner.

Yoon also said that Seoul and Tokyo will reopen high-level governmental talks on economic issues, and that Abe invited Moon to Tokyo to hold a trilateral summit with China.

Following the meeting with Abe, Moon wrapped up a two-day visit to Russia by attending the Eastern Economic Forum before returning to Seoul at 10 p.m.

In his keynote speech, Moon praised Putin’s drive to develop the Russian Far East, saying the region was a “land of hope that can bring prosperity and cooperation” to Russia and northeastern Asian nations.

As he had after his meeting with Putin on Wednesday, Moon said that Seoul and Moscow’s plans for seeking growth in the region overlap, and that he plans to actively cooperate in Russian Fareast development.

“Korea hopes to push for a free trade agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union to establish a studier and lasting framework of cooperation,” Moon said.

Moon went on to say that the two nations should be connected by “nine bridges” of cooperation -- natural gas, railroads, harbors, electricity, artic sea routes, shipbuilding, employment and the agriculture and fisheries industries -- to expand cooperation in diverse fields simultaneously.

Regarding North Korea, Moon requested Russia’s continued cooperation, and said that successful development of the Russian Far East could prompt the regime to join the international community.

By Choi He-suk (

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