South China Sea used by Beijing ‘used to smuggle crude oil’ to avoid global sanctions



CHINA has smuggled crude oil from Iran via the South China Sea so they did not have to pay tough international sanctions as tensions soar between the world’s super powers.

A huge 910,000 tonnes of crude oil was offloaded at Chinese ports during the month of September after it was transferred in the South China Sea, according to Bloomberg. This amount is three times as much as the month of August. The US has warned that there will be repercussions for anyone who buys Iranian oil.

Michal Meidan, director of the China Energy Programme at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, said: “I think its highly likely that these ship-to-ship and Malaysian volumes are Iranian or Venezuelan crude.

“But of course the whole point here is to make it hard to be sure.”

The US government is behind the new sanctions against Chinese companies buying Iranian crude oil.

Secretary of State of the US, Mike Pompeo said in September: “Today we are imposing sanctions on certain Chinese entities for knowingly transporting oil from Iran contrary to United States sanctions’.

Serena Huang, a Singapore-based senior analyst at Vortexa, said: “We have observed a rise in ship-to-ship transfers of Venezuelan crude near Malaysia’s Tanjung Bruas in recent months headed for China.

“Venezuela’s heavy-sour crude has been part of the staple diet of Chinese independent refiners, and direct exports of the crude have been impeded by the US sanctions.

“We are telling China and all nations: Know that we will sanction every violation of sanctionable activity”.

Speaking of the US sanctions, Iran’s oil minister Bijan Zanganeh has said: “The conditions in Iran are in a way that once every few years the oil industry receives a deadly blow and the economic sanctions can be considered one of those,” Zanganeh said, as carried by the semi-official Mehr news agency.

“This has caused Iran’s oil industry to fall behind from the international position and space but we will resist in this area,” Zanganeh added, according to the agency.”

The oil minister warned that his country would continue to trade oil.

He said: “We will use every possible way to export our oil and we will not succumb to America’s pressure because exporting oil is Iran’s legitimate right.”

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani allegedly refused to talk to Donald Trump last week during the United Nations General Assembly.

The initial problems between the two countries began after Trump withdrew the US from the 2015 nuclear deal.

According to a report published by the New York Times, Trump and Rouhani were scheduled to speak over the phone at the UN Assembly in New York.

However, the Iranian President refused the opportunity to talk to Trump despite the efforts of France’s Emmanuel Macron.

According to the report, Rouhani refused to talk to the US President unless sanctions were lifted on the Islamic Republic.