Published: Sat, January 06, 2018
Worldwide | By Victor Meyer

China boosts trade restrictions on North Korea

China boosts trade restrictions on North Korea

In a regular briefing, ministry spokesman Noh Kyu-duk said the meeting will be led by Lee Do-hoon, Seoul's special representative for the Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs and his Chinese counterpart and Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Kong Xuanyou. The U.N. Security Council has forbidden high-seas transfers to North Korean vessels since September, part of the council's steadily-increasing economic sanctions on Pyongyang over its nuclear weapons program.

"Anyone with common sense can see that the document [cited in the report] is fake", Geng said.

In November, China, one of North Korea's top trading partners, exported no oil products to the isolated country, apparently going above and beyond the United Nations restrictions.

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"The global shipping industry is highly open, and it's very common for ships to change their flag state and place of registration or to be leased to other parties", Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang said on Friday. The new round of sanctions has intensified the economic sanctions regime, slashing the communist state's refined petroleum product imports and banning all remaining major exports.

On Sunday, South Korean authorities announced the Panama-flagged tanker KOTI was being held at the port of Pyeongtaek on suspicion of "North Korea-related" activity. The newspaper said the ship was registered in Malaysia until mid-2017 and then switched to Panama. After the tanker loaded refined petroleum product in South Korea, it allegedly transferred 600 tons of oil to the Sam Jong 2, the North Korean vessel, on October 19. Billions Bunker Group - the firm named by South Korean investigators as the charterer of the Lighthouse Winmore - shares an address with Chen's two fishing companies in Kaohsiung, according to local reports.

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