China Caught Violating UN Sanctions on Oil Exports

Casey Dawson
December 29, 2017

The Chosun Ilbo, a South Korean newspaper, reported December 26 that US spy satellites had observed Chinese vessels allegedly transferring oil to North Korean ships in the sea between the two countries about 30 times since October, citing unidentified South Korea government officials.

It is unclear if Trump's admonishment of China was based on news reports or classified information he received from USA intelligence officials.

The U.S. Treasury Department placed six North Korean shipping and trading companies and 20 of their ships on sanctions list on November 21, when it published spy satellite images taken on October 19 showing a ship named Ryesonggang 1 connected to a Chinese vessel.

A senior administration official told CNN that the Trump administration is planning to be "more quiet" and "more discreet" about speaking publicly on U.S. military exercises with the Republic of Korea and Japan aimed at demonstrating military capability against North Korea.

President Donald Trump has often made statements critical of the North Korean regime and its leader, Kim Jong Un, whom the President has labeled "Little Rocket Man".

"Caught RED HANDED - very disappointed that China is allowing oil to go into North Korea", Trump tweeted.

The comments come after South Korean newspaper reported Chinese and North Korean vessels had been illicitly linking up at sea to get oil to North Korea.

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Members of the Trump administration have repeatedly vowed to stop North Korea's nuclear program - and have not ruled out a military option that some analysts fear could lead to a nuclear conflict.

The UN resolution seeks to ban almost 90 per cent of refined petroleum exports to North Korea by capping them at 500,000 barrels a year.

Trump has blown hot and cold on China's efforts on North Korea, which despite a dramatic increase in sanctions has made major progress this year on perfecting a nuclear-tipped missile that could strike the United States.

The US-drafted resolution also caps crude oil supplies to North Korea at 4 million barrels a year and commits the Council to further reductions if North Korea were to conduct another nuclear test or launch another ICBM. The US Treasury Department later placed six North Korean shipping and trading companies and 20 of their vessels on sanctions list.

The UN Security Council on Thursday denied worldwide port access to four North Korean ships suspected of carrying or having transported goods banned by global sanctions targeting Pyongyang, diplomats told AFP.

A ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, said Wednesday she had no information about the latest report.

China and Russian Federation subsequently asked for more time to consider the proposal.

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