US President Donald Trump has reacted to reports on China's alleged oil exports to North Korea, violating the December 22 United Nations trade restrictions introduced against the country, limiting their oil deals to four billion barrels per year.
Ship-to-ship trade with North Korea on the high seas is forbidden in UNSC Resolution 2375 adopted in September, but such violations are almost impossible to detect unless China aggressively cracks down on smuggling.
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.
The problem is that any oil embargo imposed on the North in the event of further provocations will probably be futile as long as illegal smuggling continues.
But she said China has "completely and strictly" enforced trade restrictions aimed at discouraging North Korea from developing nuclear and missile technology.
US President Donald Trump - who has often hailed China's efforts to put pressure on North Korea - hit out at Beijing Thursday for failing to cut off Pyongyang's oil supply, saying such moves prevented a "friendly solution" of the crisis.
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The U.S. Treasury in November also sanctioned North Korea's Maritime Administration and its transport ministry, in addition to six North Korean shipping and trading companies and 20 of their vessels, in an effort to block the rogue regime's transportation networks.
It's unclear whether the Chinese military has any role in sanctions enforcement.
The report has claimed that Chinese ships had transferred oil to North Korean vessels about 30 times in October. It was reportedly the second consecutive month China didn't export diesel or gasoline to North Korea.
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However, the report published by South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo has already been refuted by China's foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying on December 27, who stated that Beijing had no information on this issue, emphasizing that the country "completely and strictly" implements United Nations sanctions.
Overhead images appear to show ships from the two countries shackled together for a fuel transfer in the West Sea off China.
China and Russian Federation subsequently asked for more time to consider the proposal.
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