Chinese Ships Spotted Selling Oil to N.Korea

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China has been caught red-handed illegally selling oil to North Korea, thanks to USA spy satellites, which captured images of the deals roughly 30 times since October.

US President Donald Trump - who has often hailed China's efforts to put pressure on North Korea - hit out at Beijing Thursday for failing to cut off Pyongyang's oil supply, saying such moves prevented a "friendly solution" of the crisis.

One picture, reportedly taken on October 19, shows a ship called Ryesonggang 1 connected to a Chinese vessel, South Korean media reports.

Trump said on Twitter that China had been "Caught RED HANDED", adding he was "very disappointed that China is allowing oil to go into North Korea".

North Korea on Sunday described the United Nations move as an "act of war" and vowed to take revenge on the USA and other Security Council members.

The same photos released at the time were used by South Korean outlets in recent reports.

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Members of the Trump administration have repeatedly vowed to stop North Korea's nuclear program - and have not ruled out a military option that some analysts fear could lead to a nuclear conflict. The latest sanctions adopted Friday, in response to the test of a North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile, also impose sharp reductions on imports of refined oil products by the isolated nation.

The UN resolution seeks to ban almost 90 per cent of refined petroleum exports to North Korea by capping them at 500,000 barrels a year.

On Thursday, China insisted that it was in full compliance with the resolution, as well as the new UN Security Council resolution passed last week, which places even tighter restrictions on North Korea's energy imports.

The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on that report.

Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying was unaware of details relating to the oil products export situation, but said: "As a principle, China has consistently fully, correctly, conscientiously and strictly enforced relevant UN Security Council resolutions on North Korea".

The Treasury statement came alongside the announcement of a series of sanctions against a range of North Korean entities and individuals.