Tags: United Nations | mcmaster | pyongyang

China's Sanction Duplicity Only Advances NKorea Threat

China's Sanction Duplicity Only Advances NKorea Threat

National security adviser H.R. McMaster, right, and U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley, participate in a news briefing at the White House, in Washington, D.C. in September of last year. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

Tuesday, 02 January 2018 11:05 AM Current | Bio | Archive

U.S. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster warned last month that the threat of war with North Korea is "increasing every day." The statement came in the aftermath of Pyongyang’s Nov. 29 launch of a larger and more advanced intercontinental ballistic missile than the Hwasong-14 that they flew twice in July.

Evidencing an improved engine design, it can also deliver a larger nuclear payload.

McMaster added, "Really, we are in a race to be able to solve this problem — not just us, but the United Stattes, our allies and partners . . . We know China has tremendous coercive economic power over North Korea . . . You can’t shoot down a missile without fuel . . . right?"

Ironically, China has been directly fueling that problem. Satellite imagery has revealed Chinese ships transferring petroleum to North Korean tankers in the West Sea between China and South Korea on 30 occasions since last October. China and Russia have both been caught doing this through a stealth strategy to bypass the U.N. sanctions on oil exports to the pariah Kim Jong Un regime which they agreed to in November.

Satellite images also show that North Korea ships continue to dock at Chinese ports. Other North Korean cargo vessels are less detectable . . . as many as a dozen are known to be falsely operating under a Fiji flag.

Although Beijing hasn’t disclosed data regarding crude oil exports to Pyongyang for several years, industry sources estimate that they still supply about 3.8 million barrels per year via an aging pipeline. That amounts to a more than $200 million annual sale at current prices.

Responding to the satellite evidence that China had been "caught red handed," President Trump tweeted that he was "very disappointed that China is allowing oil to go into North Korea. There will never be a friendly solution to the North Korea problem if this continues to happen."

Oil trade isn’t the only China-North Korea sanction duplicity. Last November, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley, noted "reports of the regime continuing to smuggle coal into neighboring Asian countries using deceptive tactics to mask the coal’s origins."

This subterfuge extends beyond Asia. Australian authorities recently reported that a naturalized immigrant from South Korea described as a "loyal agent of North Korea" was caught brokering coal for Pyongyang.

Following a nearly half-year hiatus, China resumed a purchase of coal imports from North Korea last August valued at $138.1 million. That shipment arrived just before the U.N.’s Sept. 5 deadline for meeting the total ban on North Korea coal trade that China also agreed to.

China accounts for more than 90 percent of Pyongyang’s trade, with much of those transactions conducted through its own banking system. While Chinese banks froze accounts of some North Korean customers, others continue to finance companies that are breaking sanction rules with relative impunity. So far, the U.S. has targeted only one small Chinese bank (the Bank of Dandong), with sanctions.

Pyongyang has developed a sophisticated network that relies on Chinese agents, front companies and banks. In but one example, a company in Hong Kong was used to purchase components from an East Asian electronics reseller through a U.S. dollar transaction which was cleared through a correspondent Bank of America Corp. account.

The reseller was reportedly unaware it was doing business with Pyongyang.

Sen. Corey Gardner, R-Colo., urges an unambiguous ultimatum, "It’s time the United States gives nations that aid North Korea’s economy a clear choice — do business with the United States or do business with North Korea." 

As I have discussed in previous columns, China wants to have it both ways. While they want our business, they don’t want to destabilize North Korea’s economy to the point of attracting impoverished refugees across their border or eliminating that useful buffer against U.S. troops in South Korea.

Meanwhile, Kim Jong Un’s nuclear weapon and delivery system developments are rapidly progressing. Innovative horizontal refueling of their new Hwasong-15 ICBM before rolling it out of the hangar and raising it into a vertical launch position demonstrates a clear intent to shorten time that it is detectable from above prior to deployment.

There are also indications that North Korea is testing advanced engines for other new missile designs. Recent satellite imagery reveals apparent research being conducted on submarine-launched missiles. In addition, they are replacing their aging Soviet-era short-range missiles used to target aircraft with a significantly upgraded surface-to-air system known as the KN-06 which was first seen in a 2010 military parade.

H.R. McMaster said last month, "We are asking China to act — in China’s interest, as they should – and we believe increasingly that it’s in China’s urgent interest to do more, to do more beyond U.N. Security Council Resolutions." Until they do, the existential and advancing global threat posed by this small, impoverished, rogue regime continues to hold the world hostage.

Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture (SICSA) and the graduate program in space architecture. He is the author of "Scared Witless: Prophets and Profits of Climate Doom" (2015) and "Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax" (2012). Read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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China wants it both ways. While they want our business, they don’t want to destabilize North Korea’s economy to the point of eliminating that useful buffer against U.S. troops in South Korea. Kim Jong Un’s nuclear weapon and delivery system developments are progressing.
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Tuesday, 02 January 2018 11:05 AM
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