US President Donald Trump has reacted to reports on China's alleged oil exports to North Korea, violating the December 22 UN trade restrictions introduced against the country, limiting their oil deals to four billion barrels per year.
"Caught RED HANDED — very disappointed that China is allowing oil to go into North Korea. There will never be a friendly solution to the North Korea problem if this continues to happen!" Trump wrote on his social account.
Caught RED HANDED — very disappointed that China is allowing oil to go into North Korea. There will never be a friendly solution to the North Korea problem if this continues to happen!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 28 декабря 2017 г.
Following Trump's statement, US Senator Edward Markey said that the president should come up with a clear strategy to stop crude oil supplies from China to North Korea.
"The North Korea nuclear threat has only increased since Donald Trump took office," Markey wrote in the statement via Twitter. "This administration needs to find a way to get China to cut off the crude oil flowing into North Korea. The solution is a coherent strategy, not bluster."
However, the report published by South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo has already been refuted by China's foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying on December 27, who stated that Beijing had no information on this issue, emphasizing that the country "completely and strictly" implements UN sanctions. The report has claimed that Chinese ships had transferred oil to North Korean vessels about 30 times in October.
This stance was echoed by Chinese customs data, presented by the Reuters news agency. According to the information, China has not exported any oil products or gasoline, jet fuel, diesel or fuel oil to North Korea in November, following the UN restrictions. The country also has not been importing any iron ore, coal or lead from North Korea during the mentioned period, as the media specified.
Despite softening his stance towards Beijing in an effort to secure more assistance on issue areas relating to the Korean Peninsula, Trump has listed China among key threats to the US and global security in his new national security strategy. Moreover, he had previously accused the country on the campaign trail for alleged unfair trading practices, such as engaging in artificial currency devaluation.
Responding to the tough rhetoric, China's Defense Ministry called on Washington to cease its Cold War mentality and opt for closer military cooperation.