Trump says China 'caught' shipping oil to North Korea



President Donald Trump is attacking China following reports that Chinese ships improperly transferred oil to North Korean vessels at sea, saying there "will never be a friendly solution to the North Korea problem if this continues to happen!"

While Russia exports some oil to North Korea, China is the main source of oil for the rogue nation, according to Reuters.

Tensions have flared anew over North Korea's ongoing nuclear and missile programmes, pursued in defiance of years of United Nations resolutions.

The Trump administration has led a drive to step up global sanctions on North Korea in response to Pyongyang's efforts to develop nuclear missiles capable of hitting the United States. One of them - Rye Song Gang 1, seen "connected to a Chinese vessel" - was included in the November 21 sanctions as a vessel of Korea Kumbyol Trading Company possibly transferring oil to evade sanctions. Trump said on Twitter Thursday while at his golf club in West Palm Beach, Florida.

The UN Security Council last week unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea for a recent intercontinental ballistic missile test, seeking to further limit its access to refined petroleum products and crude oil.

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 USA and global security in his new national security strategy.

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Trump's tweet came after a South Korean newspaper published what it said were USA spy satellite images of Chinese ships selling oil to North Korean ships.

The department noted that the two ships appeared to be illegally trading in oil from ship to ship to bypass sanctions.

In September, the Security Council put a cap of 2 million barrels a year on refined petroleum products exports to North Korea. It was reportedly the second consecutive month China didn't export diesel or gasoline to North Korea.

A ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, said Wednesday she had no information about the latest report.

The satellite images appear to identify the ships.

China and Russian Federation subsequently asked for more time to consider the proposal.

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