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Zainab Calcuttawala

Zainab Calcuttawala

Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…

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North Korea Forced To Curb Military Exercises As Oil Embargo Continues

North Korea rockets

North Korea may be curbing its military exercises due to the United Nations’ oil embargo targeting the nuclear weapons program, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Pyongyang usually conducts public military exercises from December through March, but this year’s round is less grand and slower to start, the report said. The sanctions tightened in December restrict North Korea’s oil imports to 500,000 barrels of refined petroleum per year. Under normal conditions, the country buys 3.6 million barrels per year.

But accurate data from inside North Korea is difficult to find.

"I have seen various reports that suggest that the North has as little as four weeks' supply of oil and others that suggest they have stockpiles lasting a year or more," Garren Mulloy, a defense expert and an associate professor of international relations at Japan's Daito Bunka University, told The Guardian.

Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un goes to great lengths to assure his people that an existential threat from the United States exists and that full preparedness in the face of war is necessary.

"We should always keep readiness to take immediate nuclear counter-attacks against the enemy's scheme for a nuclear war," Kim said in his New Year’s speech this year. "The US should be aware that the North's nuclear force is reality, not a threat."

Related: Cold Snap Heats Up Natural Gas Prices

Some of Pyongyang’s allies are trying to help the country get extra fuel supplies.

Last week, a new round of sanctions from the White House targeted tankers that were revealed to be delivering oil products from Russia to North Korea, violating international sanctions against the latter state for its nuclear weapons program and human rights abuses, according to a Reuters report.

“Treasury continues to systematically target individuals and entities financing the Kim (Jong-un) regime (in North Korea) and its weapons programs, including officials complicit in North Korean sanctions evasion schemes,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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  • Bill Simpson on January 30 2018 said:
    Think if the US had a president who was really crazy, and he ordered a US Navy sub to put a couple of torpedoes into one of those Russian tankers. Scary, isn't it.

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