Taiwan releases North Korea oil smuggling suspect on bail

  • Taiwan releases North Korea oil smuggling suspect on bail

Taiwan releases North Korea oil smuggling suspect on bail

South Korea has revealed it seized a Hong Kong-registered ship last month suspected of supplying oil to the North in breach of worldwide sanctions.

China claims that no Chinese oil was exported to North Korea from Beijing in November, a fact meant to illustrate China's willingness to get tough with its unruly client state, although some observers point out that Chinese oil suppliers might also have grown exasperated with North Korea's failure to pay for its oil imports. According to the newspaper, which quotes Asia-Pacific shipping records, at least several vessels are owned by Chinese companies, but are registered in third countries like Panama, Togo, the Marshall Islands, and Sierra Leone.

South Korea has seized a Hong Kong-flagged vessel under suspicions that it illegally transferred oil to North Korea, in violation of United Nations sanctions.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters she had noted recent media reports including suggestions a Chinese vessel was suspected of transporting oil to a North Korean vessel on October 19.

On Sunday, a South Korean customs official told Reuters that authorities had seized another ship, a Panama-flagged vessel, suspected of having transferred oil products to North Korea in violation of the sanctions.

After the reconnaissance photos were publicized, "Caught RED HANDED - very disappointed that China is allowing oil to go into North Korea".

China handles about 90% of the North's foreign trade.

The Republic of China (Taiwan) security team assessed the situation and issued a statement that strongly condemned the "military threats made by North- Korea".

President Donald Trump on the other hand has accused China of selling oil to North Korea.

But instead, it transferred as much as 544 tonnes to the North Korea-flagged Sam Jong 2 on October 19 in global waters between China and the Korean peninsula, on the order of its charterer, Billions Bunker Group Corp., based in Taiwan, the ministry official said.

China, which is part of the UNSC, has agreed to restrict the supply of fuel to North Korea in its effort to stop the country in a bid to curb Pyongyang in its nuclear ambitions.

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

The UN Security Council unanimously adopted the new sanction resolution on the North on December 22nd, following Pyongyang's ballistic missile launch in November.

Previous sanctions banned sales of natural gas to North Korea and purchases of the North's textile exports, another key revenue source.