As North Korea continues to build up ICBMs and nuclear armaments that threaten everything with or without a pulse, the United Nations Security Council has been trying to find ways to get the communist nation to pull back on its weapons programs. The problem is that Russia and China both seem unwilling to help put a collective boots on North Korea’s neck.
According to the New York Times, Russian President Vladimir Putin told South Korean Prime Minister Moon Jae-in that Russia is unwilling to participate in new sanctions by the U.N. that would cut oil supplies to the country.
The excuse? Putin said it wouldn’t dissuade North Korea from advancing its nuclear program, and would only hurt the North Korean people.
It should be noted that Russia has veto power in the U.N. Security Council. Any measure passed by majority can be shot down by Moscow. Putin’s disagreement about the oil embargo is equal to a crash in the U.S. plan to stop the flow of blood to North Korea’s military.
Currently, North Korea gets almost all of its energy needs from China, but Pyongyang has been attempting to import more from Russia out of fear that Chinese President Xi Jinping may go along with the new U.S. lead oil embargo.
No one is sure what Beijing will do at this juncture. An oil embargo may collapse the Kim regime, opening up the opportunity for South Korea to absorb its northern neighbor, and put a nation massively influenced by the United States on China’s border. It’s a scenario China would like to avoid, but Trump – and the U.N. – would like Beijing to turn the oil tap off in North Korea. With elections coming up in China, Xi cannot look week in the face of American pressure, but it would look equally bad if a war broke out in the Korean Peninsula over his inaction.
It’s a tough spot to be in, but one that may be an opportunity in disguise. Xi may try to make a deal with the self-described deal-maker.
“Xi cannot afford to look like he is caving in under U.S. pressure,” said Zhang Baohui, a professor of international relations at Lingnan University in Hong Kong. “He needs something back from the U.S. to make the Chinese cooperation less costly to its image and geopolitical interests.”
It’s not clear what that deal might be yet.
In light of a potential deal that would cripple North Korea’s dictatorial regime, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is turning to Russia for help.
“Without political and diplomatic tools, it is impossible to make headway in the current situation; to be more precise, it is impossible,” Putin told Moon.
But Moon’s outlook on the North Korean situation is a big more dire, being in the nuclear cross hairs of its rogue communist neighbor.
”If North Korea does not stop provocations, the situation could become uncontrollable,” Moon told Putin.
If China and Russia cease sending oil to North Korea, the situation in the Korean Peninsula could fizzle out within a matter of months, or possibly weeks. However, both may continue to choose fueling North Korea’s military efforts.
If that is the case, then both China and Russia would have only themselves to blame should any military conflicts arise on the Peninsula.