Kim Young-woo: "The key to press North Korea is China's crude oil supply halt"

Updated By on Aug 09, 2017, 09:00 am
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Kim Young-woo, chair of the National Assembly Committee on National Defense.

By AsiaToday reporter Park Ji-sook

 

Kim Young-woo, chair of the National Assembly Committee on National Defense, said the most powerful sanctions on North Korea is China's crude oil supply halt on the North along with a close cooperation with the international community.


Kim is the first runner of AsiaToday's interview series entitled, "Hearing from the 20th national assembly standing committee chairs," in celebration of the regular session of the National Assembly in September. When asked about the recent UNSC resolution against the North after a series of intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test, Kim answered, "The unanimous adoption of the resolution, including China and Russia, is a big diplomatic achievement. But as long as China supplies crude oil to North Korea, other sanctions or pressure won't have a big impact."

"Trade with China comprises 90% of North Korea's trade. The most important thing is how far will China cooperate for banning on North Korea exports. The key is cutting off the oil supply," he said. "Diplomacy and security are relentless. Might outweighs logic."

Chairman Kim repeatedly suggested to form a consultative body involving political parties to set a long-term plan for the North Korea policy that won't be swayed by political views. "We need to craft a new strategy to transform North Korea. We have to set a long-term plan by forming a three-party consultative body and open what we can open in public and do things in silence what can be done in confidentially. We cannot come up with a right North Korea policy when there are internal conflicts."

In his belief that "There is no ruling or opposition parties when it comes to national defense," he was the only member of by-then ruling Saenuri Party to open the standing committee when his party boycotted parliamentary inspection last year, saying, "The clock of the national defense ministry must go on." He expressed his willingness to make his best efforts for the remainder of his term as chairman of the National Defense Commission.

Here is the full interview.

Q. On Aug. 5, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted new sanctions on North. What do you think about it?
A. It's a big diplomatic achievement that China and Russia have joined in this resolution, but trade with China comprises 90% of North Korea's trade. The key is cutting off the oil supply. As long as China supplies crude oil to North Korea, other sanctions or pressure won't have a big impact.

Q. You mean that we should sanction the North by cutting off the oil supply?
A. That is the most effective measure. By gradually cutting off the oil supply, the North Korean nuclear issue will be solved soon. China looks to be opposed to North Korea's nuclear weapons and missiles on the surface, but it might rather appreciate North Korea's efforts to develop ICBM and nuclear weapons. In the end, both China and North Korea wish to widen the gap between South Korea and the U.S. and that seems why China is not actively engaged in North Korean sanctions.
 
Q. What would be the North Korea policy alternative that you can think of considering the current situation?
A. The major premise should be that defense, diplomacy, and security are realities, not ideals. Diplomacy and security are relentless. Might overweighs logic. What we need right now is 'international cooperation'. How are we going to cooperate with the international community to press the North? We need to have a strong will. However, the Moon Jae-in administration is making an announcement on the defense policy first, and settling the affair afterwards. For instance, they said as if ratification of the National Assembly was necessary for the deployment of THAAD. However, they temporarily deployed the THAAD when the North launched a missile. They had to make it clear to the people and China first why THAAD deployment was necessary, and take a firm stance. But they couldn't make up their minds considering both the U.S and China. Along with a close cooperation with the international community, South Korea should press China to gradually cut off the crude oil supply to the North.

Q. The main opposition Liberty Korea Party argues that South Korea should be heavily armed with tactical nuclear deployments.
A. It's barely possible within the U.S.' strategic plan as long as the ROK-US alliance remains stable. They shouldn't claim it without much consideration. What's more important is to strengthen the ROK-US cooperation and to make sure to get international cooperation.

Q. What's your ambition as the chair of the parliament's defense committee?
A. I would like to take a meaningful step as the chair of the national defense committee. (Laughs) And I will do my best efforts for the remainder of my term. Most of all, I will have a balanced view on the current issues, including the North Korean missile issue. Especially, defense industry corruption in relation to military reform and military human rights issues are serious and these issues will be reported urgently.


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