Premonition of War: Japan Backs US Plan to Curb N Korea’s Oil Imports

Sunday, September 10, 2017
By Paul Martin

The US Treasury’s proposal to target North Korea’s oil imports is very similar in spirit to the oil embargo that the US slapped on Imperial Japan in 1941 which triggered the attack on Pearl Harbor, thus bringing the prospect of a full-scale military conflict closer.

Kristian Rouz — US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s proposal last week to target North Korea’s oil imports via a new round of sanctions bears a striking resemblance to a similar move which led to full-scale US involvement in WWII almost eighty years ago.

The US oil embargo against Imperial Japan in 1941, which relied heavily on imported fuel, led to the tragic events of Pearl Harbor. The current prospect of an oil embargo against North Korea, which is also heavily dependent on the imported oil, brings war closer.

Secretary Mnuchin said last week that the Department of the Treasury might pursue a policy of slapping trade sanctions on any nation involved in trade with North Korea. Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs are indeed dependent on imported materials, parts, and technology, but Mnuchin’s proposal is said to be targeting North Korea’s oil imports.

Elevated tensions on the Korean Peninsula are already in danger of resulting in a full-scale military conflict. Pyongyang has launched a projectile over Japan, and conducted its most-powerful-yet nuclear test, which is believed to be a subterranean hydrogen bomb test.

North Korea claims it can mount an H-bomb on its existing ballistic missiles in order to attack either the US allies in the region, such as Japan and South Korea, or the US territory of Guam, or the US mainland — if Pyongyang indeed has an inter-continental ballistic missile.

In the most recent development, Japan has voiced support for Secretary Mnuchin’s plans to curb North Korea’s oil imports, with Japan’s Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera supposing such a move. This would effectively prevent further ballistic missile launches.

“Japan’s security environment, including North Korea is increasingly grave — perhaps it’s at the most serious state in the post-war period,” Onodera said in an interview. “If North Korea-bound oil, mainly coming from China, decreases through pressure from the international community, it will be difficult for North Korea to operate its missile brigades.”

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