Published: Sat, January 06, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

China tightens North Korea trade limits under UN sanctions

China tightens North Korea trade limits under UN sanctions

China, a major supplier of oil to North Korea has put a squeeze on oil exports in recent months strictly observing UNSC resolutions as the USA has ramped up pressure on Beijing to curtail energy supplies to force Pyongyang over its nuclear programme.

Beijing said it will limit exports of crude oil and refined petroleum to the North. 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's Chosun Ilbo newspaper this week quoted South Korean government sources as saying that US spy satellites had detected Chinese ships transferring oil to North Korean vessels about 30 times since October.

On Thursday, the UN Security Council also denied worldwide port access to four more North Korean ships suspected of carrying banned goods, AFP reported.

South Korea said Friday it had seized a Hong Kong-flagged ship suspected of transferring oil to North Korea in defiance of the sanctions.

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Quoting South Korean government officials, the report said the illegal ship-to-ship transfers had been filmed by USA spy satellites about 30 times since October.

China today tightened its export and import regime banning steel and other metal exports to North Korea and warned its citizens and firms of strict penalties for violating UN Security Council sanctions against Pyongyang. But Chinese leaders have warned against taking drastic measures that might destabilize Kim's government or send a wave of refugees fleeing into China.

This defies a UN Security Council resolution imposed on 11 September.

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

"If they're helping me with North Korea, I can look at trade a little bit differently, at least for a period of time. But when oil is going in, I'm not happy about that".

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Is oil part of the sanctions against the North?

The Trump administration has led a drive to step up global sanctions on North Korea in response to its efforts to develop nuclear-tipped missiles capable of hitting the United States. Crude oil and refined petroleum supplies will be also capped, in accordance with the restrictions imposed earlier by the UN.

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.

In November past year, when a North Korean ballistic missile landed in Japan's exclusive economic zone, Taiwan's president said her country will support any North-Korea related security agreements.

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