North Korea’s primary ally, China, is turning out to be the one who may be hurting North Korea the most as new reports show that Beijing is no longer giving the communist nation the produced fuel it desperately needs.
According to Reuters, China halted jet fuel, gasoline, diesel, or any other kind of produced fuel in November due to the sanctions passed on North Korea for its continuation of its nuclear missile program.
Reuters reported that a North Korean expert says this withholding of oil products reflects China’s stance against Pyongyang’s continued agitation:
China, the main source of North Korea’s fuel, did not export any gasoline, jet fuel, diesel or fuel oil to its isolated neighbour last month, data from the General Administration of Customs showed on Tuesday.
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, an expert on North Korea at Fudan University in Shanghai.
The tightening “reflects China’s stance”, he said.
Likewise, Reuters reported that China didn’t buy any iron ore, coal, or lead from North Korea and thus is not helping it to pad its already scant bank account.
It should be noted that China completely restricting produced fuel to North Korea is a highly rare thing. However, Reuters reported that it is still likely that China is importing crude oil to North Korea through an old pipeline, though this oil only amounts to 10,000 barrels a day. While this puts North Korea in a definite choke hold, it doesn’t mean they aren’t getting any oil at all. North Korea also imports oil from Russia.
China’s turning off of the oil spigot isn’t the only thing they’re doing to hurt North Korea. The communist nation also counted on a thriving tourism industry from the Chinese people, but the Chinese government has put a stop to that as well.
This move on China’s part is indeed evidence of a deteriorating relationship between the two allies, not just on the state level, but on a personal level between the countries’ respective leaders.
Reports say that Xi Jinping and Kim Jong Un have insulted one another behind closed doors. Xi’s staff reports that the Chinese President clearly does not like Kim Jong Un, and in a rare show of disrespect used “undiplomatic language” when speaking about Kim. Kim has also called Xi a “son of a b*tch, and used his state-run media to publish derogatory articles about China, lambasting them for their lack of loyalty to North Korea.