Chinese cargo ships observed ‘covertly aiding North Korea’


US officials claim they have detailed evidence of at least six Chinese-owned or -operated cargo ships violating United Nations sanctions against North Korea, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) has reported.

The US reportedly tracked and observed the ships using satellite photographs and other intelligence moving coal illicitly from North Korea, including ship-to-ship transfers of cargo and techniques such as switching beacons on and off to mislead anyone tracking the ships electronically. The intelligence suggested that North Korea’s coal exports to China were more extensive than China had admitted and that UN sanctions permitted.

The WSJ also reported that a number of global businesses have failed to meet a deadline this month to exit joint ventures operating in North Korea. It said dozens of these companies are still there, “operating under opaque structures that help conceal their links to North Korea” and diluting the effects of financial sanctions against Kim Jong Un’s regime.