Based on satellite images recently revealed by Treasury Department, China has been illegally selling oil to North Korea, according to Fox News.
Both Chinese and North Korean vessels have been spotted swapping oil in the West Sea.
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The satellite images appear to identify the ships. One of them — Rye Song Gang 1, seen “connected to a Chinese vessel” — was included in the Nov. 21 sanctions as a vessel of Korea Kumbyol Trading Company possibly transferring oil to evade sanctions.
While Russia imports some oil to North Korea, China is the main source of oil for the rogue nation, according to Reuters. However, the country exported no oil products to the North during the month of November. It was reportedly the second consecutive month China didn’t export diesel or gasoline to North Korea.
The U.N. Security Council voted to ban North Korea from importing natural gas in response to the proliferation of the hostile regime’s nuclear missile program.
In addition, the U.S. sanctioned the country’s maritime administration and transport ministry, as well as various shipping and trading companies and their vessels.
Some of the sanctioned vessels, however, were spotted in the images trading with China.
“This is a natural outcome of the tightening of the various sanctions against North Korea,” Cai Jian, an expert on North Korea at Fudan University in Shanghai, told the news organization. Cai added the “tightening … reflects China’s stance.”
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It’s unknown if China supplies crude oil to the North, but it’s believed by industry insiders that China provides the cutoff nation 3.8 million barrels of crude oil each year through an “aging pipeline,” Reuters reported.
A government source told the South Korean newspaper that, “We need to focus on the fact that the illicit trade started after a UN Security Council resolution in September drastically capped North Korea’s imports of refined petroleum products.”