South Korean Finance Minister Bahk Jae-wan has urged fellow G20 nations to send a strong message at this week's meeting in Washington that they are ready to take action on high oil prices, including releasing strategic oil reserves if necessary.
A government source in the world's fifth-largest crude oil importer has previously said South Korea would be prepared to join a possible coordinated release of strategic reserves although Bahk told reporters on Monday that it had not received a request.
Bahk was quoted as saying in a letter sent to G20 finance ministers and central bank governors: we could send a stronger message that we stand ready to take every action possible, including commitments by major member countries to release their strategic oil reserves, if necessary.
In the comments in English released in a finance ministry statement on Sunday, Bahk also said that the G20 could reaffirm commitments made by producing countries last February to continue to ensure adequate oil supply while accelerating work steps to prevent market speculators.
G20 finance ministers and central bank governors will meet in Washington on April 19-20.
Oil prices have jumped on concerns of supply shortages due to production problems at some producers and as Western sanctions target exports from OPEC's second-largest producer Iran. Brent crude prices have risen about 13 percent this year, and were trading above $120 a barrel on Monday.
Last month, France, the United States and Britain held talks about a possible release of strategic oil stocks.
A South Korean government source has said that Asia's fourth-largest economy would support such move but has yet to receive a request to do so.
Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said on Friday that the world's top oil exporter is determined to bring down high oil prices and is working with fellow OPEC members to accomplish that.
(Reporting by Meeyoung Cho and Vincent Lee; Editing by Ed Davies)