US urges China to use oil leverage on North Korea

State Secretary Rex Tillerson says US hopes China will decide to impose oil embargo on Pyongyang.

    US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said it is "very difficult" to get China to agree to an oil embargo on North Korea, but he is hopeful that the "great country" will decide to use its "powerful tool" of oil supplies to persuade Pyongyang to reconsider its development of nuclear weapons.

    Tillerson's remarks came on Thursday at a joint news conference with UK's Foreign Minister Boris Johnson in London where he met British Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron.

    Tensions high in Korean Peninsula after North’s nuclear test

    He said the United States has sought an embargo on oil imports to North Korea at the UN Security Council in response to North Korea's most powerful nuclear test to date.

    But the UN agreed last week to weaker measures against Pyongyang - although the UN is banning ban textile exports, an important source of revenue for North Korea.

    "It's clear that with respect to oil, and a complete embargo on oil from the UN Security Council, that's going to be very difficult," he said.

    "In effect, that is directed at China alone because China supplies essentially all of North Korea's oil.

    "I am hopeful that China, as a great country, a world power, will decide on their own, will take it upon themselves to use that very powerful tool of oil supply to persuade North Korea to reconsider its current path towards weapons development, reconsider its approach to dialogue and negotiations in the future," he said.

    Al Jazeera's senior political analyst Marwan Bishara, speaking from London, said China and Russia believe that stripping North Korea of everything will push Pyongyang to war.

    "All in all the use of threatening words towards China is of course counterproductive. And at the end of the day everyone knows that the solution is diplomatic and you cannot have a diplomatic solution without China."

    INSIDE STORY: Do sanctions work? (25:00)

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    From Qatar to Alaska, a personal journey exploring what it means to belong when your culture is endangered.