A Hong Kong-flagged vessel has been seized and inspected by South Korean authorities after secretly transferring oil to a North Korean vessel in global waters in a ship-to-ship transfer prohibited by the United Nations Security Council, government officials said Friday.
China earlier denied there had been any breaking of United Nations oil sanctions between China and North Korea.
Like the U.S., China is a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council and has voted in favor of sanctions against North Korea, despite being its greatest traditional ally.
Taiwan's presidential office said the firm was not incorporated in Taiwan and China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said she did not have any information about the matter.
The officials said South Korea has shared intelligence with the USA for the detection of the illegal transaction.
China has denied that it's selling oil to North Korea in defiance of United Nations regulations.
Trump may could end up ignoring the reality that changes in trade behavior can take a long time and the fact that the United States still has more options to try to force countries to follow new UN rules.
A US State Department official confirmed Thursday that the administration has evidence that Chinese-owned ships have "engaged in UN-prohibited activities, including ship-to-ship transfers of refined petroleum and the transport of coal from North Korea".
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South Korea's customs service concluded that the Lighthouse Winmore had loaded about 14,000 tons of Japanese refined petroleum products in South Korea on October 11, reportedly bound for Taiwan, the official said.
A December report from the Institute for Science and International Security, a Washington think tank focused on nuclear nonproliferation, found that a whopping 49 countries have violated UN Security Council sanctions imposed on North Korea between March 2014 and September 2017.
Reuters could not independently verify the transfer as ship tracking data showed that the Sam Ma 2 had turned off its transponder from the start of August.
In The New York Times interview, Trump explicitly tied his administration's trade policy with China to the country's perceived cooperation in resolving the North Korea nuclear crisis.
Prior to that, it was active between India and the United Arab Emirates. But motive of the transaction with North Korea is not known, the officials noted.
As long as there is enough oil to power their limos, heat their residences, and feed the top echelons of North Korean society, Kim will be impervious to sanctions, making war more and more inevitable. He could not clarify whether the Chinese were from the mainland or Hong Kong.
In September, the Security Council put a cap of 2 million barrels a year on refined petroleum products exports to North Korea.
Employees at the office of Lighthouse Ship Management, the ship's registered manager, in the Chinese port city of Guangzhou, declined to comment and said they had no knowledge of the situation.
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