China halts official exports of oil products to North Korea

by WorldTribune Staff, December 27, 2017

China did not export oil products to North Korea in November, according to official Chinese customs data.

November was the second consecutive month China did not report exports of diesel or gasoline to North Korea.

The main source of North Korea’s fuel, China did not export any gasoline, jet fuel, diesel or fuel oil to Pyongyang last month, data from the General Administration of Customs showed on Dec. 26.

November was the second straight month China exported no diesel or gasoline to North Korea. The last time China’s jet fuel shipments to Pyongyang were at zero was in February 2015.

“This is a natural outcome of the tightening of the various sanctions against North Korea,” said Cai Jian, a North Korea analyst at Fudan University in Shanghai.

Last week, the UN Security Council imposed new caps on trade with North Korea, including limiting oil product shipments to just 500,000 barrels a year.

It is unknown if Beijing still sells crude oil to Pyongyang. China has not disclosed its crude exports to North Korea for several years.

Industry sources say China still supplies about 3.8 million barrels of crude a year to North Korea via an aging pipeline. That is a little more than 10,000 barrels a day, and worth about $200 million a year at current prices. North Korea also sources some of its oil from Russia.

Beijing also imported no iron ore, coal or lead from North Korea in November, the second full month of the latest trade sanctions imposed by the UN.

Chinese exports of corn to North Korea in November also slumped, down 82 percent from a year earlier. Exports of rice plunged 64 percent.

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