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Trump admin gives UN evidence that North Korea is violating oil sanctions

A ship carrying 6,200 tons of fuel oil, leaves for North Korea on July 12, 2007 in Ulsan, South Korea. The Trump administration has accused North Korea of voilating sanctions that cap the amount of oil it can import during a given year. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

The Trump administration has submitted a report to the United Nations accusing North Korea of violating sanctions that limit the amount of oil it can import in a given year.

Here's what you need to know

The report came from the office of Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the U.N., with a request that it be forwarded to all 193 member states.

According to the report, the United States estimates that North Korea has far exceeded the cap of 500,000 barrels of oil, a limit imposed by the U.N. The U.S. suspects that North Korea may have imported as many as 1.4 million barrels of oil.

"Tankers have called in port in the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] at least 89 times likely to deliver refined petroleum products illicitly procured," the report stated. These violations allegedly took place between January 1 and May 20 of 2018.

The U.N. Security Council had unanimously imposed these sanctions on December 21, 2017.

But where is the oil coming from?

China and Russia have admitted that they have continued selling oil to North Korea. The U.S. report says that this has to stop "immediately." China and Russia are both permanent members of the Security Council and both voted for the sanctions.

What was the proof?

The U.S. included a series of four satellite images with the report "to further underscore our confidence in the data on tanker deliveries."

The photos detail separate instances of oil tanks entering North Korean ports and performing illegal ship-to-ship transfers, likely of petroleum products. The photos are dated from January 21, February 16, March 27, and April 16. The first of these images was recorded just a month after the U.N. Security Council resolution passed.

Has the U.N. responded yet?

CBS News reports that a senior U.N. Security Council diplomat told that news agency:

This is concerning but not very surprising as U.N. experts have in the past identified a pattern of circumvention of sanctions by North Korea.

The diplomat continued:

In the current context, it confirms that we need to remain vigilant and strictly implement all the provisions of U.N. resolutions.
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