United States accuses North Korea of illegally smuggling oil products

United States accuses North Korea of illegally smuggling oil products

Ronald Pratt
July 16, 2018

The United States said Thursday that North Korea has already exceeded the annual cap allowed for oil imports, and asked the United Nations to order an immediate halt to all transfers of oil to the country.

The United States said that as of May 30, 89 North Korean tankers had brought in refined petroleum products illicitly obtained in ship-to-ship transfers this year.

"These sales and any other transfer must immediately stop since the United States believes the DPRK has breached the. refined petroleum products quota for 2018", reads the US report to the UN that AFP has seen.

The U.S. accused China and Russian Federation of keeping oil sales to North Korea, according to the report that AFP has seen.

News outlet Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported that the USA sent a report to the United Nations sanctions committee stating that at least 759,793 barrels of oil products had been delivered to North Korea from January 1 to May 30.

NATO leaders welcomed the recent talks with North Korea by the leaders of South Korea and the United States "as a contribution towards reaching the final fully verified denuclearization of [North Korea] in a peaceful manner".

The U.S. accusation of a sanctions breach comes as Washington engages with North Korea in a bid to negotiate to denuclearise the Asian country.

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The United States submitted the complaint to the U.N. Security Council North Korea sanctions committee.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was in Brussels with Trump, held talks in North Korea last week aimed at agreeing a denuclearisation roadmap.

China's General Administration of Customs (GACC) spokesperson Huang Songping said at a press conference that exports to North Korea decreased by almost 41 percent in June, while imports from the neighbouring country fell by 92.6 percent during the same period, The Paper reports.

Last month, Trump met the North Korean leader in a historic summit in Singapore.

In April, the Security Council blacklisted dozens of ships and shipping companies over coal and oil smuggling to North Korea. The North Korean tanker then proceeded to the port of Nampo in North Korea, docking five days later.

The United States provided a list to the Security Council committee of the 89 North Korean tankers and a few select photos, seen by Reuters.