The Angara, known for transporting thousands of containers believed to hold North Korean munitions since August 2023, has been docked at a shipyard in eastern Zhejiang province since February.

This discovery raises concerns about China's support for Russia amid its conflict with Ukraine. With Ukraine facing military pressure and running low on ammunition, the U.S. and its allies worry about China's role in bolstering Russia's military capabilities.

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to discuss this issue during his visit to Beijing this week. The U.S. has already expressed concerns about China's support for Moscow and has urged all nations to adhere to United Nations resolutions, including restrictions on trade with North Korea.

Despite calls for action, both China's embassy in Washington and its foreign ministry have denied knowledge of the situation.

The Angara, sanctioned by the U.S. in May 2022, has made multiple deliveries between North Korea and Russia. Its recent docking in China, possibly for repairs or maintenance, has raised questions about China's stance on the matter.

Critics argue that if China allows the Angara to leave its port without inspection, it would indicate a reluctance to act against Russian vessels.

This development comes amid growing concerns over China and North Korea's partnership with Russia, which the U.S. views as a threat to security interests n Europe and the Indo-Pacific region.

Both Russia and North Korea have dismissed criticism over their alleged weapons trade, maintaining that their cooperation is within international agreements.

The situation underscores the complexities of maritime trade and the challenges of enforcing sanctions in the region.