The more that things change. The more that things stay the same. It was not that long ago that the world thought that President Trump may be making progress when it came to establishing peace with North Korea. After a recent investigation determined that Pyongyang violated restrictions on refined oil products that are brought into North Korea the United States has asked the U.N. Security Council to call an immediate halt to all deliveries that were supposed to take refined oil products into the country. The recent report that the United States sent to a U.N. sanctions committee estimated that somewhere near 760,000 barrels of oil products had been delivered to North Korea over a five month period that took place between January and May of this year. That 760,000 is a little over a fifty percent increase above the annual quota that was set at 500,000 barrels.
It is believed that the illegal supplies reached North Korea through ship to ship transfers that took place out on the sea. According to the reports that were turned into the U.N. sanctions committee, North Korea may have done this using their own tankers that have called in port almost 90 times. It is theorized in the report that the reason for these tankers being called in so many times was more than likely to deliver the shipments that were unloaded on their ships from other ships through the ship to ship transfer that is believed to have taken place.
In a letter that the United States sent the U.N. sanctions committee, the sanctions committee was asked to declare that North Korea was in violation of restrictions that had been placed upon the country and bring an immediate halt to all deliveries of refined oil products that were scheduled to be taken into North Korea. The Committee is not expected to take immediate action. Instead the U.N. sanctions committee will take a week to determine what to do with the information that has been provided to them in the report due to the seriousness of the accusations that the United States are making against North Korea. No one would be surprised if Russia and China try to intervene and block actions against North Korea from taking place.
The move at the United Nations came just days after a recent visit to North Korea proved less than successful for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. He had traveled to Pyongyang to try to learn concrete details regarding what steps Kim Jong Un’s regime were taking toward putting an end to the nuclear program in North Korea. Although Pompeo himself felt that the discussions were making progress, North Korea has accused politicians in Washington of trying to use strong arm tactics to force a quick end to North Korea’s nuclear program.
Under the most recent sanctions that were placed on North Korea in December, the ceiling for crude oil products being taken into North Korea is at four million barrels of oil per year. For refined oil products that ceiling is set at 500,000 barrels per year. The 760,000 barrels that North Korea has already received in the five month period of time that took place between January and May of this year places them well in violation of these restrictions. Pompeo insists that the economic restrictions on North Korea should not be lifted until after it can be confirmed that North Korea has denuclearized.
United Nations experts who have been monitoring the situation believe that North Korea has been able to get around the sanctions that were placed upon them by the U.N. through the use of illegal imports of oil products that are an important key element to North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear programs. Intelligence that the United States recently declassified before sending it to the United Nations sanctions committee estimates that ship to ship transfers may have provided as much as 1,367,628 barrels of oil products to North Korea.
The report claims that anymore deliveries of oil products going into North Korea must be brought to an immediate stop by the United Nations since the United States believes that North Korea has breached the quota for 2018. After carefully reviewing the report and pictures that were released by the United States, the U.N. sanctions committee decided that if no country raises objection by 12:00 p.m. (1600) GMT at the latest then they will approved the request that has been presented to them by the United States.