President Donald Trump took to Twitter Thursday to criticize China over reports it has been secretly selling oil to North Korea.
“Caught RED HANDED,” the president tweeted. “[V]ery 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!”
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
Trump’s remark follows reports from South Korean newspaper The Chosun Ilbo Tuesday which alleged Chinese and North Korean ships have traded oil at sea in defiance of United Nations sanctions.
Citing South Korean government sources, the report states that U.S. reconnaissance satellites have captured more than 30 such incidents since October.
“We need to focus on the fact that the illicit trade started after a UN Security Council resolution in September drastically capped North Korea’s imports of refined petroleum products,” the government source said.
The U.N. Security Council unanimously approved new sanctions against North Korea last week intended to limit the country’s imports of crude oil and petroleum products.
China denied Thursday it was engaged in any oil sales by ship with North Korea in violation of the U.N. sanctions.
“The situation you have mentioned absolutely does not exist,” Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang told Reuters.
News of China’s alleged actions comes amid escalating tensions over North Korea’s missile and nuclear weapons program.
A report last week from The Telegraph stated the Trump administration is preparing for a potential preemptive military attack against North Korea in an attempt to bring Pyongyang to the negotiating table.