China ‘exporting less oil to North Korea’

The Japan News/ANN

Gasoline prices in North Korea more than tripled for a while in May and now hover above double a previous price, according to participants. One reason is said to be that gasoline is preferentially supplied to the military.

China supplies 500,000 to 600,000 tons of crude oil to North Korea annually via a pipeline to North Korea and through official trade, a source with knowledge of China-North Korea relations said. Despite this, Chinese foreign trade statistics say no crude oil has been exported to North Korea from China since 2014. China might be decreasing its crude oil supply through the pipeline, but details are unknown.

The NIS also reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has publicized his activities 51 times this year up until Thursday, a 32 per cent drop year-on-year. The agency believes this is because Kim is wary of a “decapitation strike” by the U.S. and South Korean militaries.

Kim is active at dawn, according to the report. When traveling to regional areas, he rides in a Japanese car he gave to a senior official instead of in a car for his exclusive use. This is to avoid being monitored by U.S. satellites. It is said that Kim has mobilized the North Korean intelligence agency and is in a frenzy about obtaining information about a strike on him.

The NIS also pointed out that Hwasong-12, a new type of medium long-range ballistic missile, and Pukguksong-2, a new type of intermediate-range ballistic missile, were developed as steps toward building an intercontinental ballistic missile. It said six new missile types were unveiled at a military parade in April and that four of them have been test launched. The NIS mentioned the possibility of a future ICBM test launch by North Korea.

There are said to be six South Koreans, three Korean-Americans and a Canadian detained in North Korea.