Published: Mon, July 16, 2018
Medical | By Marta Holmes

China's June trade with North Korea falls by more than half

China's June trade with North Korea falls by more than half

North Korea likely conducted at least 89 ship-to-ship transfers to illicitly obtain refined petroleum products between January 1 and May 30, USA data provided to the United Nations and seen by NK News on Friday claims. The sanctions also introduced a limit of 4 million barrels per a twelve-month period as of 22 December 2017 for the supply, sale or transfer of crude oil to North Korea.

In April, the Security Council blacklisted dozens of ships and shipping companies over coal and oil smuggling to North Korea.

A copy of the document obtained by NHK states that North Korean tankers have called at ports in the North at least 89 times between January and May, likely to deliver petroleum products illicitly procured via offshore ship-to-ship transfers.

To evidence its claims, the US included satellite imagery of four vessels described as either "likely in the process of delivering" or "delivering refined petrol products" that were "procured via illicit ship-to-ship transfer" at Nampo Port on the DPRK's west coast.

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According to Reuters, the US provided a list of the 89 North Korean tankers to the UN Security Council committee and a few select photos.

The committee is expected to take five days to consider the request, which China and Russian Federation are expected to block.

China said on Friday that its exports to North Korea have continued to decline for the 11th consecutive month in compliance with United Nations sanction resolutions.

USA officials have insisted that Washington's policy of imposing sanctions on North Korea remains as tough as ever. North Korea relies on imported fuel to keep its struggling economy functioning.

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The UN chief was asked at a news conference at the UN Headquarters about the "hiccup" in recent talks between senior officials of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Pyongyang, in which the DPRK accused Washington of seeking unilateral denuclearization of the country. The two countries have resisted toughening sanctions on North Korea.

China's General Administration of Customs (GACC) spokesperson Huang Songping said at a press conference that exports to North Korea decreased by almost 41 percent in June, while imports from the neighbouring country fell by 92.6 percent during the same period, The Paper reports.

"These sales and any other transfer must immediately stop since the United States believes the DPRK has breached the. refined petroleum products quota for 2018", the United States said in a document submitted to the committee, using an acronym for North Korea.

The United States has released photographs of eight instances in which North Korean tankers were caught at sea receiving fuel cargo.

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It remains to be seen how the latest USA claim about North Korea's actions will affect discussions on the implementation of the UN Security Council sanctions. If no objections are raised, the U.S. request will be approved.

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