Russian tankers gave North Korea fuel

Randolph Lopez
January 3, 2018

Reuters said two Western European security officials had said Russian ships were transferring their cargo at sea to Korean vessels.

He said there could never be "a friendly solution" to the North Korea crisis if oil was allowed to be exported to Pyongyang.

The sales of oil or oil products from Russian Federation, the world's second biggest oil exporter and a veto-wielding member of the United Nations Security Council, breach UN sanctions, the security sources said.

Those images received wider public attention this week when Chosun Ilbo reprinted them to accompany the report that ships believed to Chinese transferred oil to North Korean vessels some 30 times since October.

Current UN sanctions create a limit for the amount of oil countries are allowed to send to North Korea each year, but ban ship-to-ship transfers.

The report cites two anonymous sources who say that North Korea is being aided by fuel tankers coming from Russian Federation.

An official of the U.S. State Department said the U.S. government was aware of vessels engaged in such activity involving refined petroleum and coal.

On Friday, South Korean authorities said they seized a Hong Kong-flagged vessel suspected of transferring oil to a North Korean vessel at sea on October 19.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman 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.

"The fact is that since August, there have been no records of this ship docking, entering or leaving a China's port". It was not immediately clear whether the Lighthouse Winmore was involved in the transactions shown in the Treasury Department images.

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According to documents seen by Reuters this month, the United States had proposed that the UN Security Council blacklist 10 ships for illicit trade with North Korea.

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.

Three of the ships designated were North Korean, while the other was the Panama-registered Billions No. 18.

Prior to that, it was active between India and the United Arab Emirates.

The Trump administration has led a drive to step up global sanctions on North Korea and the UN Security Council last week unanimously imposed new sanctions in response to Pyongyang's 29 November test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

He then posted a clip of himself talking about North Korea's nuclear program in a television interview that aired 18 years ago.

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.

Since Trump took office, the United States and China have backed successive rounds of U.N. sanctions aimed at curbing North Korea's weapons program. North Korea relies on China for almost all of its energy supplies, and China accounts for more than 90 percent of North Korea's total trade volume.

The violator that matters the most is China, because it's North Korea's economic lifeline.

Other reports by GlobalViralNews

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