The price of automobile fuel in Pyongyang has reportedly soared in recent weeks, possibly due to developments related to sanctions imposed on the nation.
With North Korea ignoring the international community’s warnings to cease its missile and nuclear programs, more sanctions have been imposed. Furthermore, Seoul, Washington and other nations now hope to completely cut off Pyongyang’s fuel supply.
“Gasoline prices rose to $27-$30 per 15 kilograms (19.4 liters) in Pyongyang last month, and recently it skyrocketed again,” Seoul Pyongyang News reported Wednesday, quoting an unnamed source.
“Drivers in Pyongyang are visiting five to six gas stations to fill their cars, as oil supply has been sharply reduced. Some of the gas stations are secretly charging extra.”
The unnamed source also said that roads that once suffered from traffic jams have become less congested. The report added that although the atmosphere appears to be peaceful after the sixth nuclear test, North Koreans are gradually feeling the impact of international sanctions.
The communist regime is known to import about 1 million tons of crude and petroleum products from its ally China, while Russia also ships some 300,000 tons of crude oil to the country, according to data from the US Energy Information Administration.
Half of the million tons from China are said to delivered for free, but China has neither confirmed nor denied its oil trade with the North.
While denouncing the North’s latest test, Russia and China appear to be reluctant to take action against the rogue nation.
A US-drafted resolution that was circulated to UN Security Council members Wednesday seeks to ban all oil and natural gas exports and freeze all foreign financial assets of the North Korean government and its leader Kim Jong-un. The resolution is expected to be put to a vote Monday.
A Japanese media outlet reported last week that North Korea had set a goal in April to increase its oil reserves, possibly in preparation for additional sanctions.
According to the Tokyo Shimbun report, Kim ordered for the country’s oil reserves to be increased to 1 million tons, which amounts to about half to two-thirds of North Korea’s annual crude imports.
By Jo He-rim (firstname.lastname@example.org)