Trump: China ‘Caught Red Handed’ Shipping Oil to North Korea

December 28, 2017 Updated: January 7, 2018

President Donald Trump forcefully called out China after it was revealed that Chinese ships have been transferring oil to the North Korean regime.

“Caught RED HANDED – very disappointed that China is allowing oil to go into North Korea,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “There will never be a friendly solution to the North Korea problem if this continues to happen!”

Earlier this week it was revealed that Chinese ships had been illegally transferring oil to North Korean vessels on the West Sea.

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in this file photo released by North Korean state media.

U.S. reconnaissance satellites have spotted the high sea transfers around 30 times since October, reported South Korean newspaper Chosun IIlbo.

The illegal oil transfers are a violation of two U.N. security council resolutions against North Korea that China voted in favor of.

According to a source cited by the South Korean newspaper, the illegal transfer of oil started after the passing of the first sanctions in September.

The sanctions prohibited all sales of natural gas to North Korea, and limited the sale of refined petroleum products to 500,000 barrels over a period of 3 months.

The sanctions were expected to put a severe strain on North Korea’s already strained economy.

Nikki Haley, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, votes with other members of the United Nations Security Council to impose new sanctions on North Korea in New York City on Dec. 22, 2017. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Trump at the time had wanted a complete ban on oil imports to North Korea, but received pushback from China and Russia.

The latest revelation of the illegal oil transports to North Korea is expected to put a strain on U.S.-China relations.

Since coming to office, Trump has developed a close relationship with Xi Jinping.

There is the possibility that the senior Chinese leadership has been unaware of the oil transfers, as a rival faction within the communist party headed by former party head Jiang Zemin has been actively working to undermine Xi’s leadership.

Under Jiang’s rule, the Chinese regime cultivated a close relationship to the North Korea’s communist regime and provided it with finances and technology, allowing it to develop its nuclear weapons program.

Two Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 stealth fighter jets fly to the Avalon Airshow in Victoria, Australia, March 3, 2017. (Australian Defence Force/Handout via REUTERS)

Trump has been trying to seek a peaceful solution to the North Korean nuclear missile crisis, instructing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to find a diplomatic solution.

At the same time, however, Trump and the senior military leadership have been making contingency plans for military action in case diplomatic efforts fail.

The United States has increased its military assets in the region, deploying F-35 fighter jets and advanced missile defense systems.

U.S. military planes and warships have conducted multiple war drills in recent months. At the peak of America’s naval presence in the region, it had three Aircraft Carriers and their strike groups deployed in the region.

The Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and the forward-deployed Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Stethem steam alongside ships from the Republic of Korea Navy in the waters east of the Korean Peninsula on Oct. 18, 2017. (Kenneth Abbate/U.S. Navy/Handout via REUTERS)

But despite the potential for military action by the United States, the North Korean regime has continued to push ahead with its nuclear weapons program.

In September, it conducted an underground nuclear test, and in November it launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) into space.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said following the ICBM launch that the North Korean regime is now able to reach any place on earth with its missiles.

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