Nikkei reported Thursday that North Korea is smuggling large amounts of coal into China, despite international sanctions banning exports from rebel countries.
Five years ago, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution banning UN member states from importing North Korean coal in case it funded North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. China is one of the five permanent members of the UNSC.
Based on data from an automatic identification system for about 180 North Korean vessels over the past year and six months, the Japanese reported daily that more than 50 vessels entered a Chinese port with coal loading berths.
AIS automatically sends the location of the ship, but it can be turned off by a secret operator. For safety, we collated AIS data with satellite images from the Earth Imaging Company Planet Labs every day and then.
For example, the North Korean cargo ship Taefyeong 2 indicates that it left Nanpo Port on August 9, 2021 after loading coal the day before. She entered China’s Longkou Port in Yantai City, Shandong Province on August 13, and stayed there until August 26.
Satellite images show dark stains around the hull that look like a pile of coal.
Every day, North Korea is no longer trying to disconnect or switch off the AIS. Probably because they are afraid to get more attention if the ship disappears from the radar.
Coal is North Korea’s main export, earning US $ 1.1 billion worth of hard currency annually, accounting for 40% of total shipments. Since the USNC sanctions, coal exports from North Korea have officially been zero.
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https://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2022/07/01/2022070101240.html Studies show that North Korea is smuggling coal into China-Chosun Ilbo: Daily News from South Korea