Satellites have reportedly captured images of Chinese ships selling North Korea oil illegally at least 30 times since October, reports Fox News.
Under the new sanctions taken up by the United Nations in September, ships trading directly to North Korea on the high seas is barred. However, according to South Korean publication The Chosun Ilbo, satellite pictures spotted large ships illegally trading oil. The name of at least one ship, Rye Song Gang 1, was captured connected to a Chinese vessel.
According to Newsweek, China is the despotic country’s primary source of fuel — reportedly a result of the strict sanctions were introduced against North Korea in order to limit its oil supply and pressure Kim Jong-un away from expanding his nuclear weapons cache. According to data from Chinese customs, November is reportedly the second month that Beijing did not sending gasoline to North Korea in any official capacity.
Robert Kelly, a professor at Pusan National University in South Korea, told The Telegraph that the covert trading was in the realm of possibility.
“There is a lot of under-the-radar on the Chinese side,” Kelly said. “Beijing does not police the border strictly or enforce the sanctions toughly. This could be that.”
However, China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying refuted the allegations Wednesday. She informed press that she was unaware of the Chosun Ilbo article and that only ships on the Security Council list were banned from trading with North Korea, reported The Financial Times according to Newsweek.
“I want to ask you if these ships are on the list of the U.N. Security Council,” she said.
“If they are not on the list, then how can we be sure that they are violating Security Council resolutions? If there is solid evidence that Chinese persons have violated the Security Council resolution, then we will deal with this according to the law.”