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Walter_Sobchak

North Korea, you so crazy!

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A chinese defence ministry spokesman denies the whole thing, of course:

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-missiles-china/china-says-no-sanction-breaking-oil-sales-to-north-korea-idUSKBN1EM0TK

Quote

China says no sanction-breaking oil sales to North Korea

BEIJING (Reuters) - China said on Thursday there had been no U.N. sanction-breaking oil sales by Chinese ships to North Korea, after a South Korea newspaper said Chinese and North Korean vessels had been illicitly linking up at sea to get oil to North Korea...

 

...Asked at a regular briefing whether Chinese ships were illegally providing oil to North Korean ships, Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang reiterated that China, including the military, strictly enforced U.N. resolutions on North Korea. 

“The situation you have mentioned absolutely does not exist,” Ren said, without elaborating.

It’s unclear whether the Chinese military has any role in sanctions enforcement.

 

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13 hours ago, Scolopax said:

 

I suspect that situations like these are evidence that the sanctions are effectively cutting off the normal routes - it's bound to be burning through the nork foreign currency reserves at quite a rate.

 

Unabated, this seems like it could significantly undermine the sanctions. The 1600 tonnes on one vessel (mentioned in that report) works out to around 11,200 barrels (as google suggests 7 barrels / tonne). The sanctions limit the north to 500,000 barrels of refined petroleum products in the last 3 months of 2017, so ~45 transfers like this one would double the imports (I know, I'm conflating "oil" and refined petroleum products). It's claimed by american agencies that 30 transfers have taken place with chinese vessels, so the potential oil supply through these illicit means is around the same order of magnitude as the sanctions limit.

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