President Trump on Thursday called out Russian President Vladimir Putin for allegedly doing too little to help the United States reign in North Korea, though he gave some credit to China.
“Russia is not helping us at all with North Korea,” President Trump said during in an Oval Office interview. “What China is helping us with, Russia is denting.”
It’s likely Trump knows what he’s talking about. Reports increasingly note there has been an increase in seaborne traffic between North Korea and the Russian city of Vladivostok, located roughly 80 miles from the North Korean border.
In September, an official with the U.S. Treasury Dept. shared information with lawmakers that both Russia and China were permitting North Korea to offload coal in their respective ports, in violation of UN sanctions Moscow and Beijing both approved.
And as recently as October, reports have noted that Russian ships docked with North Korean-flagged vessels in international waters to conduct trade. As Trump insinuated, the ongoing trade is providing Pyongyang with an economic lifeline.
Russia is also continuing to permit its companies to employ North Korean workers. There are currently between 50,000 to 120,000 North Korean workers that Pyongyang deploys overseas to generate revenue for the regime. [source]
(Analyst comment: This analysis suggests that Trump use authorities he already has to sanction Russian banks and other entities for Moscow’s continued assistance to North Korea. I agree.)
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