Russian tankers fueled North Korea via transfers at sea

03 January, 2018, 01:26 | Author: Katrina Soto
  • (2nd LD) S. Korea seizes HK vessel over ship-to-ship oil transfer to N. Korea

The U.S. has reportedly called on the UNSC to blacklist 10 ships for engaging in proscribed trade with North Korea although China and Russian Federation are opposed to that.

In a tweet, he claimed that China had been "caught RED HANDED [sic]".

Instead of going to Taiwan, however, the vessel transferred 600 tonnes of oil to the North Korean vessel Sam Jong 2 in worldwide waters off China before returning to Yeosu, the customs service officials said.

The United States has also proposed that the United Nations Security Council blacklist 10 ships accused of illegally funnelling coal and refined petroleum from North Korea, an idea that China has resisted.

In September, Reuters reported that this year at least eight North Korean ships carrying fuel sailed from Russian Federation to North Korea despite officially declaring that they were headed to other destinations.

USA officials have not confirmed details of this report.

The US has asked the Security Council to blacklist all 10 vessels, but China objected to the proposal, diplomats said, and agreed only to blacklist four ships on Thursday. It was not immediately clear whether the Lighthouse Winmore was involved in the transactions shown in the Treasury Department images.

"I have been soft on China because the only thing more important to me than trade is war", Trump said in a separate interview with The New York Times.

But instead, it transferred as much as 600 tons to the North Korea-flagged Sam Jong 2 on October 19 in worldwide waters between China and the Korean peninsula, on the order of its charterer, Billions Bunker Group Corp., based in Taiwan, the ministry official said.

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The U.S. has repeatedly called China a pivotal player in the effort to convince North Korea to rein in its nuclear program and ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

A source told the news agency there was no evidence that the transfers were state-sponsored but noted the transfers were nevertheless "giving a lifeline" to North Korea, which has faced global condemnation for its increasing belligerent behaviour.

According to the European security sources, the Vityaz conducted a ship-to-ship transfer with the North Korean Flagged Sam Ma 2 tanker in open seas during October.

As North Korea has hurled ballistic missiles over Japan, tested a hydrogen bomb and threatened Asian neighbours with annihilation, the United Nations has imposed a series of sanctions meant to weaken the nation's economy and punish its leadership.

She urged other countries to sever "all ties" with North Korea, including ceasing trade and expelling North Korean workers.

Washington says the full cooperation of China, North Korea's neighbour and main trading partner, is vital to the success of this effort, while warning that all options are on the table, including military ones, in dealing 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".

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. Just before Trump ran with the claim on his personal Twitter account, Chinese Defense Ministry spokesperson Ren Guoqiang immediately denied the us and South Korea's version of events, saying, "The situation you have mentioned absolutely does not exist".

The latest United Nations resolution seeks to ban almost 90 percent of refined petroleum exports to North Korea by capping them at 5,00,000 barrels a year.


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