U.S. President Donald Trump accused China Thursday of facilitating oil shipments into North Korea, despite China's insistence it has not violated United Nations sanctions limiting oil shipments to the rogue nation. Writing on Twitter, he said he is "very disappointed."
A South Korean newspaper reported earlier Thursday that Chinese and North Korean ships had illicitly connected at sea to get oil into North Korea.
The U.N. Security Council last week imposed new sanctions designed to limit North Korea access to oil in response to the country's recent long-range missile test. In November, it test-launched its latest intercontinental ballistic missile, which many U.S. experts have warned would be capable of striking anywhere on U.S. soil.
The sanctions seek to bar 90-percent of refined oil exports to North Korea by capping them at 500,000 barrels a year and limit crude oil exports at 4 million barrels annually.
China has repeatedly said it is enforcing all resolutions against Pyongyang, despite doubts in the U.S., South Korea and Japan that loopholes continue to exist.
When asked at a recent media briefing whether Chinese ships were illegally loading oil on North Korean vessels, Defense Ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang repeated that China and its military are strictly enforcing U.N. resolutions on North Korea.
"The situation you have mentioned absolutely does not exist," said Ren.