New images from American reconnaissance satellites show Chinese ships selling oil to North Korean vessels about 30 times since October.
The U.S. Treasury published the surveillance photographs taken on October 19 of the North Korean vessel Rye Song Gang 1 anchored next to a large Chinese vessel in deep waters, apparently attaching hoses for the transferring of oil.
South Korean officials confirmed ships were allegedly trading in the West Sea between China and South Korea in order to circumvent the United Nations sanctions on oil exports to the regime of Kim Jong-un.
“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,” an unnamed source from the South Korean government told a local newspaper.
Ship-to-ship trading with North Korea on the high seas is forbidden under the UN sanctions, but the act is very hard to patrol without an aggressive Chinese crackdown on smuggling. Under the current sanctions, Pyongyang is only allowed 500,000 barrels of oil imports a year.
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