In response to the missile launch of North Korea over the Japanese islands on Tuesday, the United States and Japan will call for an international embargo on oil exports to Kin Jong Un’s government. The allied effort seeks to strike at the heart of Pyongyang’s weapons programs.
Japan has requested an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council in New York City along with the U.S. and South Korea. The three governments will then propose their ban to the UN. Whether or not other nations agree to join this proposed ban on oil is another matter.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump spoke via telephone on Tuesday and both agreed that now is the time for further pressure on North Korea, rather than dialogue. The missile launch by the North Koreans was another dangerous precedent, having the missile carry over Japanese territory.
Though this marks the fifth time North Korean missiles have flown over Japan, key differences from past cases indicate that the threat is greater this time.
The missile was launched from Sunan, near Pyongyang, around 5:58 a.m. and landed in the Pacific Ocean about 1,180km east of Cape Erimo on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. It flew about 2,700km, according to the Japanese government, suggesting that Pyongyang intended to prove that it can strike the American territory of Guam at any time.
Tokyo and Washington see quick, decisive action as necessary to avert a crisis. Past sanctions have done little to hinder Pyongyang, but an oil embargo that includes China, which North Korea relies on for the bulk of its supply, and Russia could deprive the regime of a vital resource, the thinking goes.
Both China and Russia, who have veto powers in the Security Council, are expected to fight this proposal. Which could embolden the North even more.
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