Report: North Korea smuggling Russian fuel oil into China

The fuel is processed, blended or broken down, then resold to Chinese buyers.
By Elizabeth Shim  |  March 1, 2016 at 9:32 AM
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SEOUL, March 1 (UPI) -- North Korea is smuggling Russian fuel oil into the country and reselling the end product to Chinese buyers.

Pyongyang has been able to bring in Mazut-100, a heavy, low-quality fuel oil that is typically used in generating plants, South Korean news network Channel A reported Tuesday.

The fuel is processed, blended or broken down, then resold to Chinese buyers who have access to the North Korean product through a maritime route that extends to the Chinese port city of Dalian.

According to a Korean-speaking trader who spoke to South Korean media on the condition of anonymity, the fuel is sold to owners of trucks and motorcycles and broken down to diesel. Mazut-100 is then sold to China, he said.

In some cases, the fuel is refined into processed fluid by Chinese traders at the port. North Korea pays for the service, and then the product is transported into China by land and sea routes.

North Korea military personnel intervene directly by securing the secret maritime route with bribes paid to Chinese authorities, according to Channel A.

The fuel oil, imported from Russia, is brought in through a sea route that starts from Vladivostok. Ships docking at the North Korean port city of Rajin are used as smuggling vessels for Mazut-100. They are then transported to a chemical plant for processing.

China has publicly denounced North Korea's nuclear tests and missile launches, but clandestine North Korea trade at the border may not be easy to eliminate, even as Beijing has moved toward placing its own sanctions against Pyongyang.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters Tuesday that China is ready to comply with any North Korea resolution that could pass at the United Nations Security Council.

Hong said it is necessary to inhibit the North's nuclear and missile capabilities, Yonhap reported.

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