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Trump Says China Caught 'Red-Handed' After Reports Of Oil Shipments To North Korea

Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and U.S. President Donald Trump in Beijing on November 9

WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump has lashed out at China, saying he is "very disappointed” that Beijing is allowing oil to go into North Korea and endangering a “friendly solution” to the crisis on the Korean Peninsula.

"Caught RED HANDED - very disappointed that China is allowing oil to go into North Korea. There will never be a friendly solution to the North Korea problem if this continues to happen!" Trump wrote in a Twitter post on December 28.

The president’s comments came after Beijing earlier in the day denied a report by South Korea's Chosun Ilbo newspaper that China had sold oil to North Korea in violation of United Nations sanctions.

The newspaper said Chinese and North Korean vessels had met up at sea to secretly transfer oil to North Korea.

The UN Security Council on December 22 unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea in response to last month’s launch of a ballistic missile that Pyongyang says is capable of reaching anywhere on the U.S. mainland.

The new sanctions include sharply cutting limits on Pyongyang’s imports of refined oil and orders the repatriation of all North Korean nationals working abroad by the end of 2019.

In response, Pyongyang vowed to bolster its nuclear weapons capabilities to counter what it called the threat from the United States.

"We will further consolidate our self-defensive nuclear deterrence aimed at fundamentally eradicating the U.S. nuclear threats, blackmail, and hostile moves by establishing the practical balance of force with the U.S.," it said.

Since taking office, Trump has at times hailed his relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping as “outstanding” and thanked him for his efforts to get Pyongyang to end its ballistic-missile and nuclear weapons programs.

At other times, the U.S. leader has criticized China for not doing enough to stop North Korea as it continues to test missiles in violation of UN sanctions.

With reporting by Chosun Ilbo