China agreed to intensify its economic sanctions against North Korea. This would have made them in closer compliance with a U.N. resolution responding to the isolated state’s nuclear ambitions.
But China is either playing a game of double-dealing or outright defying the U.N. resolution and breaking the commitment it once gave the U.S. vis-a-vis its approach to North Korea.
U.S. satellite images show Chinese tankers may be providing fuel to North Korean ships - about 30 times in just a span of three months.
The shocking pictures of defiance also show vessels tied together in the West Sea, even using hoses to transfer the crucial oil. Such a move by China, if true, is prohibited under a U.N. Security Council ( UNSC) resolution adopted in September which bans ship-to-ship trades with rogue state North Korea.
The images were taken on October 19, 2017. The U.S. Treasury spoke about China’s violation and said: “North Korea is known to employ deceptive shipping practices, including ship-to-ship transfers, a practice prohibited by the UNSC.”
The images are said to depict a recent attempt by Korea Kumbyol Trading Company’s vessel RYE SONG GANG 1 to conduct a ship-to-ship transfer, that could also include oil, and meant to evade sanctions.
U.S. ally and North Korea’s nemesis and neighbor South Korea is expectedly upset about the discovery. South Korea has always been consistent in asking powerhouse China to cut ties with the hermit kingdom of Kim Jong-un.
Tensions have been rising this year over the continuous aggression and nuclear arms tests of North Korea. Fears are growing that Kim’s provocative nuclear and missile tests could trigger a World War 3. The U.S. has always maintained its readiness to take action if North Korea continues to pose a threat not just to Asia Pacific where U.S. close allies Japan and South Korea are located, but to the entire world as well.
Robert Kelly, professor of political science at South Korea’s Pusan National University said the claims against China are likely to be true. He said: “There is a lot of under-the-radar on the Chinese side.Beijing does not police the border strictly or enforce the sanctions toughly. This could be that.”’
China’s Defense Ministry denied the allegations and declared instead that the Asian superpower “strictly enforces U.N. resolutions on North Korea, including trade embargoes.”
Industry sources estimate that China still supplies about 3.8 million barrels of crude a year to North Korea thrrough an aging pipeline.