April 10, 2018 11:20
Commercial satellite imagery shows a new open-air coal storage yard at Nampo port in North Korea, as well as piles of coal in a nearby area and a large ship loaded with coal, Voice of America reported on Monday.
The North seems to be preparing to export the coal to China amid a recent thaw in bilateral relations, even though that is banned under UN Security Council sanctions.
Analysis of satellite images shot on March 14 by Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales, France's national space research center, and Airbus show large piles of coal in an area north of a container terminal at Nampo port.
At one coal terminal about 1.8 km west of this area, a vast amount of coal is piled up against a wall. Several trains that are believed to transport coal are standing near the storage yard.
A large barge is also docked in the port. The 170 m-long ship has five hatch covers, one of which is open, showing that the cargo bay is filled with coal.
UN sanctions completely ban the North from exporting coal, but the UN Panel of Experts on North Korea has said that ships carrying North Korean coal are still sailing to third countries by indirect routes or manipulating automatic identification system data.
This raises fears that China is resuming coal imports from the North. The Chinese Commerce Ministry officially announced on its website on Monday that it is participating in UN sanctions against the North by banning exports of 32 items that can be diverted to the production of weapons of mass destruction. But back doors can be opened any time.
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