Published: Wed, January 03, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

China's stance on North Korea influences his trade policy

China's stance on North Korea influences his trade policy

In September, Reuters reported that this year at least eight North Korean ships carrying fuel sailed from Russian Federation to North Korea despite officially declaring that they were headed to other destinations.

The report cites two anonymous sources who say that North Korea is being aided by fuel tankers coming from Russian Federation.

U.S. satellites have spotted Chinese tankers transferring oil to North Korean ships 30 times in three months - despite strict United Nations trade embargoes, it has been claimed.

Reuters, quoting two "senior Western European security sources", said the transfers are providing an economic lifeline to North Korea. The sources say that the transfers of fuel violate United Nations sanctions.

Trump launched the allegation Thursday via a tweet in which he claimed China had been "caught RED HANDED" shipping oil into North Korea, a violation of the strict United Nations Security Council sanctions punishing the reclusive, authoritarian state for its unwillingness to abandon an increasingly powerful ballistic and nuclear weapons program.

This source said there was no evidence of Russian state involvement in the latest transfers.

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.

A US State Department official confirmed Thursday that the administration has evidence that Chinese-owned ships have "engaged in UN-prohibited activities, including ship-to-ship transfers of refined petroleum and the transport of coal from North Korea".

On Friday, South Korean authorities said they seized a Hong Kong-flagged vessel suspected of transferring oil to a North Korean vessel at sea on October 19.

Both China and Russian Federation are permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and voted to sanction North Korea by shutting off its access to oil.

Oil ship
Representational ImageReuters

The Vityaz left the port of Slavyanka near Vladivostok in Russia on 15 October with 1,600 tonnes of oil, according to Russian port control documents.

Ship tracking data in Thomson Reuters Eikon shows that the Lighthouse Winmore has mainly been doing supply runs between China and Taiwan since August.

"In the photos, North Korean boats appeared to be linking up with Chinese vessels".

Yaroslav Guk, deputy director of the tanker's owner, Vladivostok-based Alisa Ltd, said the vessel had no contacts with North Korean vessels. "It would be complete madness".

An official at East Coast Ltd, the vessel's transport agent, declined to comment.

But recent reports indicate that China, Russia, and even close USA allies like Germany have been quietly trading with North Korea anyway, keeping its economy afloat in the face of harsh worldwide sanctions.AndNorth Korea today is significantly closer to being able to deliver a nuclear bomb to the United States mainland than it was when Trump came into office one year ago.

In September, Reuters reported that at least eight North Korean ships that left Russian Federation loaded with fuel this year headed for their homeland despite declaring other destinations, a ploy that USA officials say is often used to undermine sanctions.

China is North Korea's main trading partner and energy supplier. I am not aware of whether the ship has visited other countries' ports.

Three North Korean ships among the 10 were blacklisted, along with a Panama-registered vessel.

U.S. blocks $255 million military aid to Pakistan
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