As part of President Donald Trump’s plan to deal with the totalitarian state of North Korea, he has been pressuring China to do more to rein them in. The president hasn’t appeared pleased with China’s efforts so far, tweeting last week, “While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi & China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out. At least I know China tried!”
Although its motivations are not entirely clear, it appears China is now doing more to stifle the North Korean regime. China’s largest state-owned energy company, China National Petroleum Corp, has stopped fuel sales (mainly gasoline and diesel) to North Korea, according to an exclusive report from Reuters.
CNPC appears to have cut off the fuel shipment out of concern that North Korea could no longer pay for the fuel. It is unclear if this move was also motivated by pressure from the Trump administration.
“It’s no longer worth the risks,” said a source who also described the decision as a “commercial” one.
It is possible that the “risks” are the threat of more sanctions being slapped on North Korea from the international community and the United States in response to further North Korean missile/nuclear tests.
While this move won’t cripple the North Korean regime, it will inflict an awful lot of headaches as CNPC was the largest supplier of fuel to the isolated nation.
There are no indications as of yet that this is part of a larger move by China to cut off all sales of fuel to North Korea. It is also unclear how long this suspension could last.
Earlier this year, China stopped buying coal from North Korea in a move that was seen as a way to both appease the Trump administration and cause some economic pain for North Korea.
Despite that, North Korea continues to fire rockets, threaten South Korea and the United States.
If this fuel suspension goes on for months, it could have a very crippling effect on North Korea — which could potentially cause the nation to lash out in an attempt to secure more fuel.
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H/T The Right Scoop