China denies it is illegally selling oil to North Koreans

North Korea is receiving fuel from a major country in violation of UN sanctions

Reuters reports that Russian oil tankers are delivering fuel to North Korea and breaking UN sanctions

Aaron Friedberg, a China scholar at Princeton University and former national security adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney, told me that Trump may have backed himself into a corner with his inflammatory rhetoric if he decides his economic isolation campaign has failed.

The US State Department, in a statement, called on Russian Federation and other United Nations members to "strictly implement" sanctions on North Korea and to work "more closely together to shut down UN-prohibited activities, including ship-to-ship transfers of refined petroleum and the transport of coal from North Korea".

South Korea said on Friday that in late November it seized a Hong Kong-flagged ship, the Lighthouse Winmore, suspected of transferring oil to North Korea.

China is North Korea's main trading partner and energy supplier.

The sales of oil or oil products from Russian Federation, the world's second biggest oil exporter and a veto-wielding member of the United Nations Security Council, breach UN sanctions, the security sources said. China has denied responsibility for the smuggling.

US officials have not confirmed details of this report but a US State Department official said Washington had evidence that vessels from several countries, including China, had engaged in transhipping oil products and coal.

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"China has always implemented UN Security Council resolutions pertaining to North Korea in their entirety and fulfils its global obligations".

Hua, the Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman, said she had no information about the Hong Kong ship.

Of those ships, three were listed earlier this month as Hong Kong-owned and two as mainland-China-owned, sailing under flags of convenience. They made - last year, we had a trade deficit with China of $350 billion, minimum.

"The situation you have mentioned absolutely does not exist", he said.

Both ships were among 10 vessels that the United States had proposed that the UN Security Council should blacklist for transporting banned items from North Korea, documents seen by Reuters this month showed.

More likely, the governments of China and Russian Federation are turning a blind eye to the transactions.

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As North Korea has hurled ballistic missiles over Japan, tested a hydrogen bomb and threatened Asian neighbours with annihilation, the United Nations has imposed a series of sanctions meant to weaken the nation's economy and punish its leadership.

He then posted a clip of himself talking about North Korea's nuclear program in a television interview that aired 18 years ago.

It wasn't immediately clear whether the Lighthouse Winmore was involved in the transactions shown in the Treasury images.

Prior to that, it was active between India and the United Arab Emirates.

According to the European security sources, the Vityaz conducted a ship-to-ship transfer with the North Korean Flagged Sam Ma 2 tanker in open seas during October.

The latest United Nations resolution seeks to ban almost 90 percent of refined petroleum exports to North Korea by capping them at 5,00,000 barrels a year.

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Like the U.S., China is a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council and has voted in favor of sanctions against North Korea, despite being its greatest traditional ally.

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