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Russian Federation denies North Korea sanctions breach claims

01 January 2018

South Korea briefly seized and inspected a Hong Kong-registered ship it suspected of transferring oil products to North Korea, an official has said.

The ship had headed towards its purported destination in Taiwan, but on reaching global waters transferred some of its 600 tonne cargo to the Sam Jong 2 and three other North Korean vessels, the South claimed.

The ship, loaded with the Japanese refined petroleum, was claimed to be heading to Taiwan.

The seizure follows that of the Lighthouse Winmore, another oil tanker which Seoul claims supplied fuel products to North Korea in October, in breach of UN Resolution 2375.

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After leaving port, however, the Hong Kong ship met up with the Sam Jong 2, a 2,507-ton North Korean tanker, and three other unnamed ships in global waters in the East China Sea.

South Korea seized the second ship, Koti, at Pyeongtaek-Dangjin, a port on its west coast.

Results of the investigation will be reported to the UN Security Council's sanctions committee, foreign ministry officials said.

OFAC said it had found three Chinese companies had cumulatively exported about $650m (about £483m) worth of goods to North Korea and cumulatively imported more than $100m (about £744m) worth of goods between January 2013 and the end of August 2017.

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She said, "the Chinese government has been completely and strictly enforcing Security Council resolutions". It was reportedly the second consecutive month China didn't export diesel or gasoline to North Korea.

It is the second known vessel under probe by South Korea on suspicions of ship-to-ship supplies of petroleum products to North Korea, banned under the global sanctions over its nuclear and missile programs.

The announcement is the second of its kind this week, further highlighting the of use of ship-to-ship cargo transfers banned by United Nations resolutions.

The US leader on Thursday tweeted, "Caught RED HANDED - very disappointed that China is allowing oil to go into North Korea".

Russian Federation denied the reports on Saturday, saying via its foreign ministry that it "fully observes fully the sanctions regime" against North Korea.

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While UN measures limit the amount of refined and crude oil member states can send to the DPRK, the September resolution also bans member states from transferring cargos at sea.

Russian Federation denies North Korea sanctions breach claims