President Trump isn’t taking a holiday vacation from Twitter. In one of three tweets early on Thursday from his West Palm Beach golf club, he charged that China was “caught RED HANDED” allowing oil shipments to reach North Korean ports.
Pronouncing himself “very disappointed,” Trump in effect was acknowledging the failure of his months-long effort to convince China to clamp down further on energy shipments going to the isolated country, which relies heavily on Beijing, as a way to pressure North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program.
Trump’s tweet came after a South Korean newspaper published what it said were U.S. spy satellite images of Chinese ships selling oil to North Korean ships.
The United Nations Security Council, which includes China, has voted repeatedly to restrict fuel shipments to North Korea. Trump asked Chinese President Xi Jinping in November to cut off North Korea’s oil supply entirely, the American ambassador to the U.N., Nikki R. Haley, said at the time.
It is unclear if Trump’s admonishment of China was based on news reports or classified information he received from U.S. intelligence officials. There was no daily intelligence briefing on Trump’s public schedule Thursday. He is expected to return to Washington next week after spending the Christmas holiday and New Year’s Eve at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla.