Sept. 26 (UPI) — A South Korean unification ministry official says North Korea fuel prices have been skyrocketing in September, and the changes could reflect the impact of international sanctions.
The ministry told reporters on Tuesday that United Nations Security Council sanctions Resolution 2375, adopted Sept. 11, is squeezing North Korea, but not cutting off the food supply.
“Following the passage of Resolution 2375, the price of rice, the exchange rate, are relatively stable, but oil prices are rising,” a unification ministry official said, according to news services Newsis and Yonhap.
The ministry official said the price of crude oil products began rising as early as mid-August.
The Security Council also passed Sanctions 2371 on Aug. 5, and soon after the “price of gasoline tripled,” owing to a supply reduction and a response to market expectations.
Before prices increased a kilogram of gasoline cost about 2,000 North Korean won ($1.76). Recent prices have hovered at about 7,000 won ($6.15), according to the Seoul official. A kilogram is about a fourth-gallon.
In late 2016, the exchange rate was about 8,000 North Korean won to the dollar.
The official also told Newsis the price hikes are not limited to Pyongyang, and the rise in prices have resulted in “preemptive purchases” of gasoline and private fuel trade.
Resolution 2375 restricts oil exports to North Korea.
Pyongyang’s missile and nuclear provocations have escalated tensions on the peninsula, but the United States has not ruled out negotiations.
Those negotiations, however, come with requirements, according to National Security H.R. McMaster.
“What we hope to do is avoid war, but we cannot discount that possibility,” McMaster said.