China is reportedly pushing back against a U.S. move to blacklist cargo ships that violate U.N. sanctions against North Korea — the latest incident in tensions between the two countries over how to deal with the rogue nation.
The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that U.S. officials gave the U.N. reports this month that show that ten ships should be designated as sanctions violations, including a South Korean vessel. The U.S. claimed the ships have been illegally transferring oil to North Korean ships, in contravention of U.N. sanctions passed this year on how much oil North Korea can import.
However, China managed to get the list reduced down to just four. United States officials told the Journal that China has been trying to avoid listing ships with connections to Chinese companies.
The Trump administration has been able to get three rounds of tough sanctions through the U.N. Security Council, avoiding possible vetoes by Russia and China each time. However, the U.S. has expressed concern that the Chinese are not implementing sanctions as tightly as they should be.
President Trump tweeted Thursday that China had been caught “red handed” trying to smuggle oil into North Korea, despite sanctions preventing that practice:
Caught RED HANDED – 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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 28, 2017
“Oil is going into North Korea. That wasn’t my deal!” Trump told a reporter for the New York Times at his golf club in West Palm Beach hours later while admitting he had been “soft” on China on trade to try to get them to play ball on North Korea’s aggression. “If they don’t help us with North Korea, then I do what I’ve always said I want to do.”
China has claimed it also wants to crack down on North Korea’s aggression but says that it wants to go about it in a different way.
The communist country has proposed a return to talks as well as a so-called “freeze-for-freeze” whereby North Korea curbs its missile launches in exchange for the U.S. and South Korea’s reducing its military exercises in the Korean Peninsula. The Trump administration has repeatedly dismissed the plan.
Adam Shaw is a Breitbart News politics reporter based in New York. Follow Adam on Twitter: @AdamShawNY.