Chinese vessels have been spotted by the United States selling massive amounts of oil to North Korea. American satellites have captured detailed images of Chinese and North Korean ships side by side at seas transferring a load of oil from the Chinese vessels to the North Korean ships.
The United Nations Security Council has created resolutions which outlaw this trade between North Korea and China. The satellite images are so clear the name of each vessel is legible, the North Korean ship Rye Song Gang 1, is an old 1974 oil products tanker.
In retaliation to the illicit trade the United States has placed further sanctions on the North Korean Maritime administration. Six North Korean shipping companies and four Chinese shipping companies were targeted after violating the previously imposed sanctions.
In the region the ship to ship trade is taking place, China is the only one who can effectively monitor and disrupt the illicit practice. With China’s strong presence in the region, it is unlikely the country is unaware of the huge transfer of energy resources. China has said it would comply with United States efforts to impose economic sanctions on North Korea, however, China has continued to conduct massive deals with the volatile nation.
The United States has locked up the assets within our borders of anyone tied to the trade companies caught and has forbid citizens from engaging in further trade with the sanctioned North Korean and Chinese companies named. President Trump signed the executive order on September 21, targeting individuals and companies involved in “a significant importation from or exportation to North Korea.”
The Trump administration has come down on North Korea with significant sanctions in order to strain their government and economy. The increasingly harsh sanctions on North Korea have the goal of bankrupting the country’s nuclear programs. The United States’ main interest is keeping the hostile regime from becoming a nuclear power, and a threat to our country.
Kim Jong-un is the dictator of North Korea and has ruled the nation since 1994. Under his leadership the country has conducted several underground nuclear tests in defiance of previous peace agreements. Jong-un’s regime has also developed long range ballistic missile which are reported to be capable of reaching the United States. The most recent North Korean ballistic missile test pushed a rocket 2,800 miles into the sky before crashing down off the coast of Japan.
Jong-un has the fourth largest standing military in the world. A full 25% of the countries entire GDP is spent on their military endeavors. The countries military equipment consists of 3,500 tanks, 545 aircraft, 73 submarines, and 21,100 artillery units. The active military personnel includes 1,190,000 active soldiers in the Army, 60,000 Navy soldiers, 110,00 Airforce soldiers, and 189,000 paramilitary units.
Jong-un has called Trump a “depraved and stupid guy,” while President Trump has nicknamed the dictator “rocket man.” Jong-un’s regime stated his country has “finally realized the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force.” Jong-un continues to defy the international community making headway in his effort to strengthen his arsenal, however his country has paid a devastating cost.
The population of North Korea has endured starvation because the countries resources were improperly allocated. North Korea continues to dump untold riches into their military while their people go hungry, malnutrition has literally caused their population’s average height to deteriorate 1.2-3.1 inches below their neighbors to the south.
North Korea’s plight is reflected in their lack of infrastructure as well. Of the roads in North Korea, 97% are unpaved while their neighbor to south has paved 92% of theirs. The population of North Korea is so poor only about 11 in 1000 own a car. Only about one in ten North Koreans have activated phones which were all on a single network until 2015. The countries internet for its citizens keeps their traffic within the borders of the nation with very few North Koreans being able to access the world wide web.
China is one of the few countries who engage in substantial trade with North Korea. While China has paid lip service to complying with United States efforts to sanction the hostile regime, their participation has been lackluster at best. China conducted about $335 million in trade with North Korea in October, not including the illicit trading caught by satellites and the number of undetected transactions which may have occurred as well. China is crucial to North Korea and the Trump administration will have to force their hand in order to bring Jong-un in compliance.