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Global Energy Advisory 5th May 2017

Global Energy Advisory 5th May 2017

Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict

• North Korea is using its state news agency to lash out at China for media reports suggesting Beijing might want to take a tougher stance on its neighbor’s nuclear missile program. The Korean Central News Agency called the reports ‘absurd and reckless remarks”, threatening China with “grave consequences”. This comes from a country that depends on China for its survival in no uncertain terms—in so far as survival means food and fuel (and it does). If China decides to cut the lifeline, North Korea’s regime would very likely collapse within weeks. Pyongyang imports up to 90% of the oil it consumes from China and a lot of its food as well. However, Beijing has grown increasingly impatient with North Korea, and is also being urged by Washington to take a tougher stance. Diplomatic word is that Washington and Beijing are poking the unhinged North Korean bear with talk of more sanctions. At the same time, Trump’s goading of North Korea is dangerous, and China of course knows this, so take news of sanctions talk with a grain of salt. Dispatching a U.S. nuclear-powered submarine to the Korean Peninsula should be viewed as reckless, not bold. Provoking tyrannical leaders who are driven solely by paranoid power cannot be resolved through a demonstration of who is bigger. If there is anything the markets should fear, it is the uncertainty of the new U.S. president’s move against an unhinged…

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