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".
A South Korean newspaper said this week, citing unidentified officials, that ships believed to be Chinese transferred oil to North Korean vessels at sea.
China on Thursday blocked a U.S. effort at the United Nations to blacklist six foreign-flagged ships - five of which were mainland-China - or Hong Kong-owned - that Washington believes had engaged in illicit trade with North Korea, a UN Security Council diplomat said.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's nuclear program has led to United Nations sanctions including ones on oil.
The standoff underscores Trump's frustration at his attempts to press China to tighten economic pressures on North Korea as part of global efforts to curb the North's nuclear and missile programs.
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. In October, when it allegedly transferred petroleum products to the North Korean ship, the Lighthouse Winmore had its tracking transponder switched off.
China's denial came a day after it blocked a U.S. effort at the United Nations to blacklist six ships Washington believes had engaged in illicit trade with North Korea, a UN Security Council diplomat said.
A December report from the Institute for Science and International Security, a Washington think tank focused on nuclear nonproliferation, found that a whopping 49 countries have violated UN Security Council sanctions imposed on North Korea between March 2014 and September 2017.
He then posted a clip of himself talking about North Korea's nuclear program in a television interview that aired 18 years ago. He could not clarify whether the Chinese were from the mainland or Hong Kong.
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.
Employees at the office of Lighthouse Ship Management declined to comment and said they had no knowledge of the situation.
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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