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Taiwan Cuts Off Fossil Fuels To North Korea

Offshore

Taiwan will no longer offer its fossil fuels to North Korea, the island announced on Tuesday in a bid to emerge as a responsible member of the international community.

Taiwan also said it would immediately halt any remaining clothing and textile imports from North Korea, in line with recent economic sanctions against Pyongyang for its missile tests over Japan. Preexisting contracts in force before September 11th would continue to be honored until December 10th, a notice from the economics ministry said.

The bans hope to “denounce North Korea’s recent successive nuclear tests and actions that jeopardize regional security,” the economics ministry said in a statement.

The island is not officially a member of the United Nations apart from Beijing, which insists Taiwan is just one of China’s provinces.

Taiwan and North Korea have seen bilateral trade fall 90 percent in volume in the first six months of this year, compared to the year prior. This is mostly due to the increasing scope of punitive sanctions against Pyongyang in recent months.

Russia and China have previously made a commitment never to support sanctions against Pyongyang that could negatively impact the civilian population, a stance that would almost certainly include a full-scale oil embargo. Even prior to the new threat of sanctions, North Korea has been increasingly self-sufficient in beginning to tap its still largely unused oil reserves.

However, the country’s political climate, including the sanctions currently in force, and water depths of up to 2,500 meters off the east coast present barriers to development. A shortage of funds is likely to further hamper development. In the 1990s, North Korea couldn’t provide food for its population, and it continues to struggle to meet the energy demands of its population, generally falling short even in providing electricity to its capital city.

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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