The latest in a series of comments either blaming China for the problems in North Korea or claiming they could unilaterally solve the entire situation came, as it often has, from President Trump’s Twitter, as he today declared China had been caught “RED HANDED” allowing oil into North Korea.
From Trump’s comments, it’s not clear if the oil was sold to North Korea by China, came from China, or indeed if China just didn’t stop it coming from somewhere else. It was clear, however, Trump felt he’d caught the Chinese, warning that it precluded a “friendly solution” to North Korea to allow them to have oil.
China was quick to point out that there is no UN sanction which prohibits shipping oil into North Korea. Indeed, the US sought that ban during the most recent sanctions on North Korea, but failed, and had to settle for a deal that banned nothing, and only limited processed oil products, not crude.
Though all reports at the time of the sanctions, earlier this month, made clear that was the case, and that it was the only reason Russia and China didn’t veto the sanctions, its unclear if President Trump was aware of this, or if he believes his demand for global oil ban on North Korea was imposed.
Either way, Trump is using this as an opportunity to present the situation as a failing on China’s part, and to put the lack of progress on North Korea on somebody else.