North Korea is looking to import crude oil from Iran and is seeking backing from its main ally, China.
During talks between Pyongyang and Beijing in the Chinese capital, North Korean officials have laid out their plans to import oil from the Islamic country, reports The Asahi Shimbun.
The North Korean officials were also quoted as saying they were hoping to build an oil refinery, and asking for Beijing’s cooperation in the construction plan.
Iran’s oil minister said in April that talks were under way with North Korea on their mutual oil transactions and the two countries were discussing relevant procedures.
Both nations are under UN sanctions for their nuclear ambitions. But the sanctions are not applicable to oil exports by Iran or the construction of oil refineries by North Korea.
The North’s plan would allow the country to diversify its energy supply, which China accounts for 80%.
North Korea is also considering offshore drilling, a source told the Asahi Shimbun.
“China is also seeking a joint development with North Korea of an oil field off the west coast of the Korean Peninsula,” an official said.