Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Trump White House Stays Quiet as Russia Flouts North Korea Sanctions

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Dan De Luce and Elias Groll write in Foreign Policy:

Trump administration officials and lawmakers are increasingly concerned that Russia is stepping up trade with North Korea in defiance of international sanctions, jeopardizing a U.S. effort to pressure Pyongyang over its nuclear and missile programs.

The White House, however, has yet to call out Russia publicly for its dealings with North Korea.

Russia is filling a gap left after China began to scale back some trade with North Korea in response to pressure from the Donald Trump administration, and has already replaced China as the top supplier of jet fuel for North Korea. Moscow also signed an agreement in March with Pyongyang to import more North Korean workers and opened a ferry line last month out of Vladivostok that carries passengers and cargo to the deeply isolated regime.

“It’s something we need to watch closely if we’re serious about turning the screws economically on North Korea,” one administration official told Foreign Policy.

The White House is concerned about Russia helping the North gain access to jet fuel and cash, but China remains North Korea’s crucial lifeline. “It will take some doing for the Russians to back-fill all of what China supplies,” the official added.

Russian support for North Korea presents a dilemma for a White House that has sought to isolate Kim Jong Un’s regime and improve relations with Moscow. The Russian moves undercut attempts to inflict economic punishment on North Korea for its nuclear program and missile development, and present yet another obstacle to closer ties between Washington and Moscow.

While the Trump administration has not publicly challenged Russia’s trade with North Korea, senior officials have hinted at the issue. Speaking to reporters last month, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley praised China for enforcing the sanctions regime but noted that “other countries are trying to fill that void.”

“If you are a country that is supplying or supporting North Korea, we will call you out on it,” Haley said. So far, however, the White House has not publicly rebuked Moscow.

The magnitude of Russian support to North Korea remains difficult to quantify, but South Korean experts have in recent months observed a significant uptick in trade between the two nations, said Go Myong-hyun, a research fellow at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, a Seoul-based think tank. . .

Continue reading.

I hope Tillerson’s on top of this. Unfortunately the State Department currently has many unfilled positions. And, of course, the Trump Administration is friendly with Russia.

Note also: “North Korea Is About to Test a Missile That Can Reach Trump Tower.” I certainly wish we had a full-time president, and one who knew foreign policy.

Written by LeisureGuy

14 June 2017 at 1:57 pm

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