South Korea has offered to cut nearly 20 pct of its crude imports from Iran to join US-led sanctions punishing Tehran for its alleged nuclear weapons program, Yonhap News Agency reported Monday.
“We didn’t specify a figure, but we explained the operation rate of our refineries and global oil market trends so that the US could understand what would be the appropriate level of reduction for us,” a South Korean official was quoted as telling reporters in Seoul.
Senior officials from South Korea and the US held bilateral talks on the issue in Washington last Wednesday.
The US has announced guidelines for an 18 pct reduction rate, which is likely to set the standard for other countries, the report said, adding that the two sides agreed to hold further discussions through their diplomatic channels. The official’s remarks are seen as an indication that South Korea will keep close to the suggested rate.
South Korea has expressed support for the US-led sanctions on Iran, but remains concerned about possible fallout in its economy as it depends heavily on crude imports from Iran. Last year, Iranian crude oil accounted for about 10 pct of South Korea’s total oil imports.