Donald Trump has accused China of exporting oil to North Korea, in contravention of UN sanctions, after a media report alleged transactions between the two countries. Beijing has denied making illegal shipments.
“Caught RED HANDED – very disappointed that China is allowing oil to go into North Korea. There will never be a friendly solution to the North Korea problem if this continues to happen!” tweeted the US president.
Caught RED HANDED – very disappointed that China is allowing oil to go into North Korea. There will never be a friendly solution to the North Korea problem if this continues to happen!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 28 December 2017
On Tuesday, the South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo claimed US surveillance satellites spotted Chinese vessels engaged in ship-to-ship oil transfers with North Korean ships at sea, citing government sources in Seoul. At least 30 such transfers have allegedly occurred since October.
September’s United Nations Security Council Resolution 2375 imposed an import quota of 500,000 barrels of refined petrol on North Korea, for three months starting in October, as well as restrictions on crude oil transactions. Direct ship-to-ship transfers, which make it harder to account for the oil, are also banned by the UN, which imposed Resolution 2375 in response Pyongyang’s suspected nuclear test earlier that month.
On Thursday, China insisted that it was in full compliance with the resolution, as well as the new UN Security Council resolution passed last week, which places even tighter restrictions on North Korea’s energy imports.
“The situation you have mentioned absolutely does not exist,” Chinese defense ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang said when questioned about the media revelations.