U.S. May Ask China To Ban Exports To North Korea

| by Michael Doherty
A view of the Pyongyang skyline.A view of the Pyongyang skyline.

The United States will reportedly propose new sanctions against North Korea by asking China to stop oil exports and to block imports of minerals such as iron ore and anthracite.

The U.S. may also ban flights of North Korean airline Air Koryo to and from other countries in order to put greater pressure on Pyongyang, United Press International reports.

The Obama administration's sanctions draft proposal also seeks more stringent inspection of North Korean cargo.

North Korea has drawn condemnation for its nuclear tests. It is believed the state has conducted four nuclear tests underground, the BBC reports.

North Korea confirmed its facilities at nuclear plant Yongbyon had restarted. Multiple attempts at international negotiations and strict sanctions from other countries have not discouraged the state's nuclear ambitions.

The sanctions expected from the U.S. come in the wake of several American citizens being detained by the country.

Otto Frederick Warmbier, a 21-year-old University of Virginia student, was detained for what North Korea deemed "a hostile act against the state," Reuters reports. Warmbier was visiting Pyongyang for the New Year and was detained on Jan. 2 -- just four days before the state's most recent nuclear test.

"We are in touch with Otto's family, the U.S. State Department and the Embassy of Sweden in Pyongyang, and doing all we can to secure his release," Gareth Johnson of Young Pioneer Tours, which organized Warmbier's visit, told Reuters.

The Swedish embassy represents the U.S. in North Korea, according to the embassy's website.

North Korea's government issued a statement on Jan. 22 which seemed to address the proposed trade sanctions.

"Whether we have external support or not makes no difference to [North Korea]," the statement in the Rodong Sinmun, a North Korean newspaper, read, according to UPI. "There is nothing more dangerous to a strong and prosperous independent nation than dependence on foreign nations."

Source: United Press International, BBC, ReutersSweden Abroad / Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons