While the United Nations has passed a resolution to restrict North Korea’s coal exports, there have been reports that China allowed some North Korean ships to dock or to unload their coal in China’s ports. China’s spokesperson gave an explanation for two incidents.
Geng Shuang, spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on April 26, 2017:
Question: “According to what we know, six ships carrying coal from North Korea unloaded the coal in Tangshan port last week. This seems to contradict the Chinese government’s claim that China has not imported any North Korean coal since February 18. Could you please provide more information and explanation?”
Answer: “Due to the fact that some ships that carried North Korean coal were severely short of supplies, out of humanitarian consideration, China allowed them to unload the cargo. However that was not to allow its importation. Unloading and importing are two different things.”
Huang Songping, spokesperson for China’s General Administration of Customs, on April 13, 2017:
Lianhe Zaobao news reported that it asked about 10 North Korean ships that were allowed to dock at China’s port, which made observers wonder if (it meant that) China has not enforced the UN’s embargo.
Huang said that China’s Customs did not let that North Korean coal go through the import process. “Since China’s Customs did not allow the import, how to deal with the coal involved in shipping is something that is up to companies themselves to handle.”
1. Sina, April 26, 2017
2. Lianhe Zaobao, April 14, 2017