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The Graphic Truth: Russian and Chinese oil exports to North Korea

The Graphic Truth: Russian and Chinese oil exports to North Korea
Paige Fusco

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Russian Pacific port city of Vladivostok is in part meant to highlight that both leaders – though isolated – still have friends in high places. Putin is expected to ask for additional arms from North Korea, while Pyongyang wants economic and material help as it struggles with ongoing food shortages and perennial economic mismanagement.

One area that Kim will focus on is oil. The Vladivostok summit follows a renewal of Russian oil exports to North Korea that had laid dormant for over two years. Between December 2022 and April 2023, Russia told the United Nations it exported over 67,000 barrels of oil to North Korea. And that’s only what’s been reported officially. Satellite photos of trains on the Russia-North Korea border from the Center for Strategic and International Studies shows Russia is likely exporting even more to North Korea on the hush-hush.

Here’s a look at recent oil exports to North Korea from Pyongyang’s two closest allies, Russia and China.


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