US in talks with South Korea over Iranian oil sanctions

As part of the United States' ongoing campaign to halt Iran’s nuclear programme by cutting off oil revenues, two senior US officials: the US State Department’s special advisor for non-proliferation and arms control, Robert Einhorn, and the US Treasury’s assistant secretary for terrorist financing and financial crimes, Daniel Glaser, have met with South Korean leaders to discuss a reduction in Seoul’s purchases of Iranian oil.

Despite urging that Seoul ends its reliance on Iranian oil (South Korea currently uses Iranian oil to meet 9.6% of its total energy needs) and cease dealing with Tehran’s central bank, Einhorn made it clear that it was important to be “very sensitive” to the financial needs of allies.

South Korean Deputy Foreign Minister, Kim Jae-Shin, took a similar line when balancing a pledge of Korea’s support for the sanction efforts with a reminder that a change of oil provider could cause economic disruption. As South Korea has no domestic energy supplies, ensuring the stability of imports is vital to Seoul’s economy.

South Korea’s Prime Minister, Kim Hwang-sik recently visited Oman and the UEA to engage in oil supply talks, a move that echoes actions made by Chinese leaders in earlier weeks.

Published on 17/01/2012

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