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Trump Hits Out At China For 'Allowing' North Korean Oil Smuggling
03 January 2018, 01:28 | Damon Campbell
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The sources say that the transfers of fuel violate United Nations sanctions.
"It's unclear how much oil the ship had transferred to North Korea for how long and on how many occasions, but it clearly showed North Korea is engaged in evading the sanctions", the official told Reuters.
UNSC Resolution 2375, adopted in September, bans member countries from ship-to-ship transfer of any goods for North Korea.
Ship-to-ship trade with North Korea at sea is prohibited under United Nations sanctions adopted in September.
US officials have not confirmed details of this report but a US State Department official said Washington had evidence that vessels from several countries, including China, had engaged in transhipping oil products and coal.
On Saturday, the Russian Foreign Ministry denied the report and vowed the country has "fully and strictly observed the sanctions regime".
The Security Council resolution bars the Hermit Kingdom from importing natural gas and capped its crude oil imports in September, Reuters reported, citing two senior Western European security sources.
Asked at a regular briefing whether Chinese ships were illegally providing oil to North Korean ships, Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang reiterated that China, including the military, strictly enforced United Nations resolutions.
"Russian vessels have made ship-to-ship transfers of petrochemicals to North Korean vessels on several occasions this year in breach of sanctions", the first security source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters.
The standoff underscores Trump's frustration at his attempts to press China to tighten economic pressures on North Korea as part of global efforts to curb the North's nuclear and missile programs.
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In recent months it has conducted numerous nuclear tests, flight-testing intercontinental ballistic missiles three times.
The report says that it is unknown if the Russian government is behind the fuel transfers to North Korea.
Reuters was unable to independently confirm the reports.
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.
Ship tracking data in Thomson Reuters Eikon shows that the Lighthouse Winmore has mainly been doing supply runs between China and Taiwan since August.
The owner of the Russian vessel denied any contact with North Korean vessels but also said it was unaware that the vessel was fuelling fishing boats.
An official at East Coast Ltd, the vessel's transport agent, declined to comment. In September, Reuters reported a number of North Korean ships fueled up directly from Russian Federation and sailed the product back to their country by lying about where the cargo would be delivered.
A Russian shipping source with knowledge of Far Eastern marine practices said North Korean vessels had stopped loading fuel in Russia's Far Eastern ports but that fuel is delivered at sea by tankers using ship-to-ship transfers, or even by fishing vessels.
"When I campaigned, I was very tough on China in terms of trade".
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.
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