Thursday, April 20, 2017

Report: China Will Cut Oil Exports To North Korea If They Conduct A Sixth Nuclear Test

Nikkei Asian Review: Beijing may cut crude oil to Pyongyang, says Chinese expert

China turns the screw on North Korea to prevent another nuclear test

BEIJING -- China likely will halt crude oil exports to North Korea should Pyongyang conduct its sixth nuclear test, a prominent Chinese expert told The Nikkei, signaling a tougher attitude by Beijing toward its rogue neighbor.

A nuclear test or the launch of intercontinental ballistic missiles would violate United Nations Security Council resolutions, and China is certain to respond with additional sanctions, said Zhang Liangui, a professor at the Chinese Communist Party's Central Party School and noted authority on North Korea.

The option to cut off the North's crude supply will be put on the table, Zhang said, while stressing that the Chinese government will ultimately decide its course of action.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This is the ultimate leverage that China has over North Korea (short of invading the country). Will North Korea call this bluff? I guess we will have to wait and see.


Publius said...

In my view, the ultimate question is whether China will calculate that North Korea's provocations are not in China's interest.

It seems clear that, hitherto, China has calculated that North Korea, staging continual provocations under the Fat Boy, is preferable to any serious attempt to stop him. It is possible that China's calculation is changing.

President Trump's meeting with President Xi is one, but only one, data point for China's calculations. The real question is whether China will come to view its interest as reigning in the Fat Boy.

It is not clear whether China can control the Fat Boy, even if China uses its oil exports as leverage. North Korea's nuclear arsenal may be large enough that retaliation against all of its neighbors (including China) will deter any attempt to control Kim Jong Un.

Let's assume (1) that North Korea has 10-15 nuclear bombs, and (2) that North Korea must use bombers to deliver them. As I understand it, North Korea's missile failure rate is about 50%, and it is not clear that North Korea has miniaturized its warheads to make delivery by missile possible.

If those assumptions are accurate, then if North Korea dispersed its bombs to bombers located at 15 different airfields, it would be difficult for China (or the USA) to (a) seize them, or (b) destroy them. Such an attack would have to occur simultaneously, and would assume that the pilots do not have pre-issued orders to launch immediately if contact with Fat Boy is lost. Of course, bombers can be shot down, but if you were President Xi, would you bet Beijing or Shanghai that you could shoot down the bombers coming for you? The South Korean and Japanese Governments would face the same dilemma. Moreover, as WNU Editor posted nearby, Seoul is in easy artillery range of North Korean batteries.

No one (including China, South Korea, Japan, and the USA) has good choices. Until now it has been easier to allow Fat Boy to continue his antics. It is possible that these previous calculations, especially China's, may be changing.

War News Updates Editor said...

And I was wondering just yesterday on where was Publius and his insights on the news that has been happening in the past month. Thank you for your feedback.

Jay Farquharson said...

Titles wrong, should be:

" China might consider cutting Oil exports to North Korea".