The satellite images that fuel suspicions: Is China secretly selling oil to Kim Jong-un?
The photos taken by North American satellites show Chinese and North Korean ships exchanging barrels in the West Sea.
While the West is pressuring China to use its influence on North Korea to stop Kim Jong-un’s nuclear development, US satellites have detected an alleged transfer of oil between Chinese and North Korean vessels.
If this exchange is verified, it would be demonstrated that Beijing violated the UN resolution that prevents trade with the Pyongyang regime, sanctioned after the repeated nuclear tests.
The aerial images show ships from the two Asian countries in the West Sea , off the Chinese coast.
South Korean government sources, according to the Daily Mail , maintain that the North American satellite images reveal that the “illegal” commercial exchange was carried out on “repeated occasions”.
A photograph, taken on October 19, shows a ship called “Ryesonggang 1” , connected to a Chinese one, reports The Chosun Ilbo.
Subsequently, the United States Department of the Treasury included six North Korean transport and marketing companies and 20 of its vessels on its list of sanctions.
The Treasury acknowledged that the activity appeared to show attempts to circumvent the sanctions, although it has not been suggested that the Chinese authorities were aware of the transactions.
China, North Korea’s main fuel source, did not export gasoline, jet fuel, diesel or oil to Kim Jong-un’s dictatorship last month, according to data from the General Administration of Customs published on Tuesday.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said she was not aware of any details about the export situation of petroleum products.
“As a principle, China has consistently, correctly, conscientiously and strictly complied with the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council on North Korea, and we have already established a set of effective operational mechanisms and methods,” she said at a briefing. without giving more details.
Industry sources, however, maintain that China still supplies some 520,000 tons, or 3.8 million barrels of crude a year to North Korea through an oil pipeline. That represents little more than 10,000 barrels per day, and has an approximate value of 200 million dollars a year.