China Resists US Push To Blacklist Ships Caught Trading With North Korea

After the US Treasury Department released satellite images purporting to show Chinese ships transferring oil to a North Korea-flagged vessel in blatant violation of UN Security Council sanctions, the US is pressing for 10 ships, several of them Chinese, to be added to the list of entities banned by the UN.
But there’s one problem: China, which like the US holds a permanent veto over UN Security Council decisions, is pushing back. It says it will only accept sanctions on four ships, according to the Wall Street Journal.
While there’s some skepticism about how well these rules are enforced, UN sanctions would require members to bar blacklisted ships from their ports.
A Security Council resolution passed last week gives member states more authority to seize the ships that have breached international sanctions and ban them from their ports. And the satellite images mentioned above have shown just how easily North Korea has managed to circumvent sanctions managed to restrict energy flowing into the country while also choking off its exports of North Korean coal.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Fri, 12/29/2017 –.

TENSIONS FLARE AS US RECON SATELLITES EXPOSE CHINESE SHIPS ILLEGALLY SELLING OIL TO NORTH KOREA

According to South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo, U. S. recon satellites have photographed around 30 illegal transactions involving Chinese vessels selling oil to North Korea.
Washington, D. C. – United States reconnaissance satellites have allegedly caught Chinese ships violating UN sanctions by engaging in illegal oil trades with North Korean vessels nearly 30 times in October.
The images were captured in the West Sea on October 19, prior to the most recent round of sanctions on the DPRK, which caps oil product shipments at 500K barrels per year, going into effect.
The satellite footage reveals a North Korean ship, named Ryesonggang 1, connected with a Chinese ship in what was deemed a ship-to-ship oil transfer, which is prohibited and deemed illegal by U. S. authorities.
According to the U. S. Department of the Treasury’s official report on the incident:

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on DECEMBER 27, 2017.

North Korea’s Grandstanding And US Inaction Will Likely Continue In 2018

Authored by Duane Norman via Free Market Shooter blog,
2017 has seen President Trump’s administration make a marked departure in how North Korea is ‘handled’ by the United States.
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Whereas past administrations were more predictable, waiting for North Korea to act bellicose before they acceded to relief from sanctions, the Trump administration has done no such thing, instead choosing to implement more sanctions on the North Korean regime following its weapons tests.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Thu, 12/28/2017.

Russia Tests Powerful ICBM Capable Of Overcoming Missile-Defense Systems

As North Korea vociferously condemns the US and the United Nations after the Security Council passed yet another round of sanctionsagainst the restive regime, Russia is continuing to test ICBMs in preparation for a violent conflict on the neighboring Korean Peninsula while simultaneous calling for both sides to seek mediation.
Last night, Russia’s Strategic Missile Force tested the RS-12M Topol intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) at the Kapustin Yar practice range in the southern Astrakhan Region, the TASS News Agency reported Tuesday.
“On December 26, 2017, a combat team of the Strategic Missile Force test-fired an RS-12M Topol intercontinental ballistic missile from the Kapustin Yar state central combined arms training range in the Astrakhan Region,” Russia’s Defense Ministry said.
“The launch was aimed at testing perspective armament for intercontinental ballistic missiles,” the ministry said.
“During the tests, specialists obtained experimental data that will be used in the interests of developing effective means of overcoming anti-ballistic missile defense and equipping the perspective grouping of Russian ballistic missiles with them,” the Defense Ministry said.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 26, 2017.

North Korea Declares New Sanctions An “Act Of War,” Refuses To Ever Abandon Its Nukes

North Korea strongly rejected the latest United Nations sanctions resolution, calling it an ‘act of war’ against the rogue regime.
The U. N. Security Council unanimously decided Friday to impose tougher sanctions on North Korea in response to the North’s test of a new intercontinental ballistic missile that some experts suggest can range the entire continental U. S.
Resolution 2397 bans nearly 90 percent of North Korea’s refined petroleum imports and sets new restrictions on other essential imports, such as heavy machinery.
The punitive resolution also demands the repatriation of North Korean workers generating funds for the regime abroad and puts greater pressure on North Korean shipping.
Pyongyang called on the U. S. and its international partners to ‘wake up from its pipe dream of our country giving up nuclear weapons’ and learn to ‘co-exist with the country that has nuclear weapons.’

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 24, 2017.

In Victory For Trump, UN Imposes New North Korean Sanctions

One day after the UN humiliated Donald Trump, when 128 nations voted for a UN resolution demanding the US president revoke his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, on Friday Trump scored a significant victory at the same venue – his third of the day after signing off on the tax and stopgap bills – when the United Nations Security Council unanimously approved new sanctions targeting North Korea’s economy after the latest launch of a ballistic missile last month that Kim Jong Un’s regime said shows it can now target the entire continental U. S.
The new restrictions are meant to slash North Korea’s imports of refined petroleum products, further restrict shipping and impose a 12-month deadline for expatriate North Korean workers to be sent home, according to Bloomberg. “Under the new sanctions, oil exports will be limited to their current level, which has already begun to result in shortages around the country,” the NY Times added. “Countries around the world will be ordered to expel North Korean workers, a key source of hard currency. Nations would also be urged to inspect all North Korean shipping and halt ship-to-ship transfers of fuel, which the North has used to evade sanctions.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 22, 2017.

What Will Drive The Next Oil Price Crash?

Authored by Tsvetana Paraskova via OilPrice.com,
As we roll into 2018, analysts and investors are more optimistic that the oil market will further tighten next year and support higher oil prices, but rising U. S. shale production will likely cap any significant price gains.
On the demand side, expectations are that global economic growth will support solid oil demand growth.
On the supply side, Venezuela’s dire situation, possible new sanctions on Iran, and increased tension in the Middle East mostly with the Saudi-Iran issues and the Iraq-Kurdistan standoff may take more barrels off the market than OPEC and friends plan, and send geopolitical jitters through the oil market.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 22, 2017.

New Austrian Gov’t Promises “Sanctions” Against Migrants Who Don’t Integrate

Authored by Jacob Boejesson via The Daily Caller,
Austria’s incoming conservative government is taking a hard line on immigration by promising ‘sanctions’ against those ‘refusing to integrate.’
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Sebastian Kurz, 31, is set to become the world’s youngest leader after winning the parliamentary election in October with his People’s Party. Kurz will serve as chancellor with support from the populist Freedom Party.
A new platform unveiled Monday calls for faster deportations and a halt to illegal immigration. The main emphasis for migrants will be put on integrating to Austrian society by adopting local values.
Monthly payments to migrants will be cut to 365 euros ($432 USD) with the possibility of earning an ‘integration bonus’ of 155 euros ($184 USD).

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 21, 2017.

EU Triggers “Unprecedented Nuclear Option” Against Poland; Sanctions May Follow

Despite efforts for a constructive dialogue for 2 years, we have concluded that there is a clear risk of a serious breach of the rule of law in #Poland
We therefore proposed to @EUCouncil to adopt a decision under #Article7 (1) of the Treaty on EU
— European Commission (@EU_Commission) December 20, 2017

Yesterday we reported that German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron had publicly agreed to back Article 7 proceedings against Poland for refusing to comply with EU immigration quotas and changes to its judicial system. The only thing that was missing was the official triggering of the so-called “nuclear option” Article 7.
On Wednesday morning, in a historic development – one which may herald the future fracturing of the EU – the European Commission launched an injunction against Poland for a “serious breach” of European common values and rule of law. The European Commission said it decided to take the next step in its infringement procedure against Poland for breaches of EU law by the Law on the Ordinary Courts Organisation, referring Poland to the EU Court of Justice. And while only a warning now, Article 7 could lead to sanctions and a suspension of EU voting rights.
The unprecedented measure was taken amid two-year tensions between the EU and Poland over the latter’s judicial reforms. The bloc is concerned over “a serious breach of the rule of law” in the country, saying the reforms resulted in ‘the absence of judicial independence.’ “It is up to Poland to identify its own model for its justice system, but it should do so in a way that respects the rule of law,” it said in a statement.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 20, 2017.