U.S. accuses China of hurting sanctions enforcement against N.K.

WASHINGTON-- A senior U.S. defense official accused China on Thursday of hurting efforts to enforce sanctions against North Korea.

Randall Schriver, assistant secretary of defense for Indo-Pacific security affairs, told the Defense One forum that while the U.S. is open to cooperation with China, it needs a willing partner on the other side.

"I will tell you we press them hard on North Korea," Schriver said during a panel discussion at the event. "We're trying to enforce the sanctions, and the primary method by which North Korea is attempting to evade the sanctions are through illicit, illegal ship-to-ship transfers, primarily coal going out and oil going in. Over time, much of this activity has moved into Chinese territorial waters."

North Korea is under a wide array of United Nations sanctions designed to stop the regime's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.

To evade the sanctions, Pyongyang has increasingly used ship-to-ship transfers at sea to trade in oil, coal and other commodities needed for its economy and weapons of mass destruction programs.

"Our ability to disrupt that, interfere that and keep pressure on North Korea is now being harmed by China's unwillingness to clamp down on that behavior," Schriver said.

Recalling a meeting in June between then acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and his Chinese counterpart, Schriver said Shanahan presented a picture book of ship-to-ship transfers happening in Chinese territorial waters

"He said this gift comes with an offer. We want to work with you on this. We'll pass data to you, pass targets to you ... we'll do something even more robust if you're willing to do that," Schriver said. "And instead, the (Chinese) vessels are going outside their territorial waters to shadow and harass us as we try to enforce the sanctions."

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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