Trump accuses China of allowing oil into North Korea

Trump accuses China of allowing oil into North Korea

The U.S. Treasury Department released satellite photos in November that showed what it said was a North Korean ship receiving oil from an unidentified vessel on October 19.

"There will never be a friendly solution to the North Korea problem if this continues to happen!"

In an interview with the New York Times published Thursday, Trump claimed "oil is going into North Korea" and appeared to blame China, saying if Beijing fails to put pressure on Pyongyang then the United States may take punitive economic actions against Beijing.

According to South Korean government sources, the satellites have pictured large Chinese and North Korean ships illegally trading in oil in a part of the West Sea closer to China than South Korea.

A senior South Korean foreign ministry official said the ship, the Lighthouse Winmore, was seized when it arrived at a South Korean port in late November.

The Lighthouse Winmore is believed to have transferred about 600 tons of refined petroleum products to the North Korean ship, the Sam Jong 2, in global waters in the East China Sea on October 19, after leaving the South Korean port of Yeosu, a South Korean Foreign Ministry official said.

It identified one of the ships as a sanctioned North Korean vessel, the Rye Song Gang 1, but did not name the other.

China rejects US President Donald Trump's accusation that that it is transferring oil to North Korea amid sanctions. I am not aware of whether the ship has visited other countries' ports.

China on Friday denied violating United Nations -imposed limits on oil supplies to North Korea after U.S. President Donald Trump criticized Beijing for allowing oil to reach the North.

Kim Jong-un ordered a missile test in response to military drills held between the United States and South Korea which Washington describe as being'defensive in nature

The ship's 25 crew members - 23 of them Chinese nationals and two from Myanmar - are being held at Yeosu but will be allowed to leave South Korea after authorities are finished investigating them, the official said.

Beijing, long North Korea's main diplomatic protector, has expressed growing frustration with its nuclear and missile tests.

On Friday, China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said that charges of Chinese ships sending oil to North Korea "do not accord with facts".

"China has applied certain import bans and sanctions, but it could and should do more, " he wrote in The New York Times.

"If, through investigation, it's confirmed there are violations of the U.N. Security Council resolutions, China will deal with them seriously in accordance with laws and regulations". "China can help us much more, and they have to help us much more".

Trump, since the beginning, has been loud and clear about how North Korea was playing with fire when it comes to its nuclear programme and that the U.S. was ready for a takedown. "We are liaising with the Korean parties concerned to obtain further information about the incident, and will take appropriate actions as necessary", the statement said.

"We have evidence that some of the vessels engaged in these activities are owned by companies in several countries, including China", the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

China and Russian Federation subsequently asked for more time to consider the US proposal.

The Security Council has imposed three sets of sanctions on North Korea this year: one on August 5 targeting the iron, coal and fishing industries, another set on September 11 aimed at textiles and limiting oil supply, and the most recent on December 22 focused on refined petroleum products.

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