February 18, 2018

China denies it is illegally selling oil to North Koreans

03 January 2018, 01:27 | Kara Nash

GETTY TORTURE The defector likely knew he would face Kim's gulags if he returned

   TORTURE The defector likely knew he would face Kim's gulags if he returned

-China on Friday denied reports it has been illicitly selling oil products to North Korea after US President Donald Trump said he was not happy that China had allowed oil to reach the isolated nation.

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.

The claims appeared Wednesday in the South Korean newspaper The Chosun Ilbo, which cited South Korean government sources saying USA reconnaissance captured Chinese ships secretly providing oil to their North Korean counterparts about 30 times since October.

USA officials have not confirmed details of this report.

"We never allow Chinese companies and citizens to violate the resolutions", she said.

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

He said in a tweet that he was "very disappointed" in Beijing and added in an interview published Thursday evening that he was reconsidering his "soft" trade stance with the people's republic.

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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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