North Korea likely to seek weakening of global sanctions amid fuel crisis

Published: Feb. 18, 2018 at 8:15 AM

Jennie Oh

SEOUL, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- North Korea will aim to cushion the impact of global sanctions by strengthening ties with South Korea, a North Korea expert told News 1 on Sunday.

Amid anticipation that an inter-Korean summit may soon take place, Moon Geun-shik, an analyst at Korea Defence and Security Forum said the North "will maintain the atmosphere for talks with a peace overture, as it attempts overcome the impact of economic sanctions."

"It cannot overcome the sanctions alone so it will seek a breakthrough through the South Korean government," he said.

Pyongyang is likely to propose continued exchanges between the two Koreas as well as reopening the joint industrial complex of Kaesong and resuming tourist programs in Mount Kumkang, according to the expert.

With four rounds of United Nations Security Council sanctions intoduced last year and Washington's ongoing campaign to impose maximum pressure on Pyongyang, Radio Free Asia reported Sunday that the North is grappling with a deteriorating fuel crisis.

UNSC Resolution 2397, adopted in December after the North conducted its Hwasong-15 Intercontinental Ballistic Missile test, includes reducing the regime's imports of refined petroleum products by almost 90 percent.

Since then, the price of gasoline in the North has tripled to 18,225 North Korean Won (approx. $2) per kilogram while diesel prices have jumped to 18,000 won.

The U.S. broadcaster attributed the rise to global sanctions on the regime, causing it to tighten control on fuel supplies.

As a result, North Korean households and even military operations are being affected, RFA said.

© 2018 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.