Caught Red Handed: China Shipping Oil to North Korea
December 27, 2017
U.S. spy satellites have captured images of Chinese ships unloading oil shipments to North Korea in violation of United Nations resolutions their government agreed to enforce earlier this year.
Just as a new report came out announcing that November crude oil imports to North Korea were zero, South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper is reporting that U.S. spy satellites caught China red handed selling oil illegally. Not just once, but 30 times.
The images are clear enough that the names of the ships involved can be clearly read by those fluent in Korean and Mandarin Chinese.
The newspaper noted the transfers were being conducted ship-to-ship in order to avoid UN sanctions approved by the Security Council—with the Chinese government’s support—in September. It also notes that such transfers are impossible to prevent, unless China cracks down on them or the U.S. imposes a full naval blockade of North Korea.
The latter would be considered an act of war under international law.
The latest round of sanctions imposed by the UN last week have been seen as the last diplomatic move left to apply pressure on Kim Jong-un’s regime without resorting to military action. But with Chinese ships flouting existing sanctions and their government either unwilling or incapable of preventing illegal trade, it would appear time is running out.