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South Korea seizes ship that transferred oil to North Korean vessel

South Korea seizes ship that transferred oil to North Korean vessel

South Korea has impounded a Hong Kong-registered oil tanker suspected of having secretly transferred refined oil to a North Korean vessel, thus violating United Nations sanctions, South Korean officials announced on Friday.

He later told The New York Times, "It was reported this morning, and it was reported on Fox".

"This is one of the main ways in which North Korea uses an illegal network to circumvent UN Security Council sanctions", the South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

The US had asked the Security Council to blacklist all 10 vessels, but China objected to the proposal, diplomats said, and only agreed to blacklist the four ships on Thursday.

The Chosun Ilbo reports that US reconnaissance images had shown "Chinese ships selling oil to North Korean vessels on the West Sea around 30 times since October".

"There is no record of the (Chinese) vessel visiting a Chinese port" since August, Hua said. "China can help us much more, and they have to help us much more".

"As North Korea continues to threaten worldwide peace and security, we are steadfast in our determination to maximize economic pressure to isolate it from outside sources of trade and revenue while exposing its evasive tactics", Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said at the time.

China on Friday denied Trump's claims.

He added: "China's hurting us very badly on trade, but I have been soft on China because the only thing more important to me than trade is war".

A State Department official later said the U.S. was aware that "certain vessels have engaged in UN-prohibited activities, including ship-to-ship transfers of refined petroleum and the transport of coal from North Korea".

An official of the US State Department said the US government was aware of vessels engaged in such activity involving refined petroleum and coal, according to Reuters.

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North Korea has significantly stepped up its nuclear and missile programs in 2017, launching a newly developed intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) called a Hwasong-15 last month.

"We have evidence that some of the vessels engaged in these activities are owned by companies in several countries, including China", the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Resolution 2397, adopted on December 22, allows a country to seize, inspect and impound any vessel within its territorial waters that is suspected of engaging in prohibited activities with North Korea.

The Hong Kong government said it was "liaising with the Korean parties concerned to obtain further information about the incident, and will take appropriate actions as necessary".

"Instead of going to Taiwan, however, the vessel transferred the oil to a North Korean ship, the Sam Jong 2, and three other non-North Korean vessels in global waters, they said".

US officials have not confirmed details of the report, but a US State Department official suggested on Wednesday that such transfers could still be going on.

South Korea will be keeping the Hong Kong-flagged vessel for about six months, during which time Hong Kong is expected to file a request for the ship's release with the UNSC's sanctions committee on North Korea, Yonhap said.

The United Nations and Washington have imposed a series of sanctions against North Korea over its nuclear and missile programme in recent months.

"China is helping. Russian Federation is not helping".

The UN resolution seeks to ban almost 90 per cent of refined petroleum exports to North Korea by capping them at 500 000 barrels a year.

In September, the Security Council put a cap of 2 million barrels a year on refined petroleum products exports to North Korea.


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