Photo: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst
Photo: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

As if reports last week of Chinese ships selling oil to North Korea in violation of UN sanctions weren’t enough, an unverified scoop this week threatens to add fuel to Trump’s twitter fire.

US news website The Washington Free Beacon released a Chinese-language document, purported to be obtained from “a person who once had ties to the Chinese intelligence and security communities,” detailing a covert Chinese plan to unilaterally broker a deal with North Korea.

The document, labeled “top secret,” lays out a compromise which would see China increase aid to the North in exchange for a freeze on nuclear testing. The document is dated September 19, two weeks after North Korea’s most recent nuclear test.

While the author of the report, Bill Gertz, was unable to verify the document’s authenticity, it nonetheless has the potential of catching the US president’s attention, further exacerbating his frustration with perceived inaction on the part of China.

The kicker, as far as Trump is concerned, is the indication from the document that Beijing is not committed to applying pressure through sanctions.

“Chinese leaders also agreed to offer new assurances that the North Korean government will not be allowed to collapse, and that Beijing plans to apply sanctions ‘symbolically’ to avoid punishing the regime of leader Kim Jong Un under a recent UN resolution requiring a halt to oil and gas shipments into North Korea,” Gertz writes.

If Trump’s reaction to the purported ship-to-ship oil transfers last week is any indication, we can expect more “disappointment” is on its way.

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