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Taiwan investigates man over illegal North Korean oil sales

Taiwan investigates man over illegal North Korean oil sales

China's ministry of commerce banned steel and other metal exports to North Korea and limited exports of crude oil and refined oil products. 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.

Prosecutors in Taiwan said they're investigating a man suspected of involvement in illegal oil sales to North Korea.

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.

Last month, Beijing claimed that in November it exported no oil products to North Korea.

This development comes in the wake of South Korea seizing a ship from Hong Kong suspected to have engaged in mid-sea oil trade with North Korea and USA satellite images showing two vessels - one each from North Korea and China - carrying out some sort of a trade deal in a part of the West Sea, between China and South Korea.

The move, in line with the UN Security Council resolutions, will be effective from tomorrow. President Donald Trump accused China of being caught "red-handed" undermining sanctions, an accusation the Chinese vehemently denied.

"If, through investigation, it's confirmed there are violations of the UN Security Council resolutions, China will deal with them seriously in accordance with laws and regulations". In September the council banned ship-to-ship trade with North Korea.

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.

The latest round was sparked by the 29 November launch of a ballistic missile, which flew higher than any other the North has tested.

The new Chinese restrictions were announced amid allegations that Chinese ships under foreign flags have been violating sanctions by transferring goods to North Korean vessels, including oil.

China a staunch communist ally of North Korea has been repeatedly urged by the worldwide community to abide by the sanctions imposed on North Korea. The precise volume of exports in previous years is information the Chinese government is reluctant to disclose, so it is difficult to judge just how hard the new cap of 4 million barrels per year will hit the North Korean regime.

The U.S. -drafted United Nations resolution seeks to ban almost 90 per cent of refined petroleum exports to North Korea by capping them at 500,000 barrels a year.

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