South Korea Seizes Hong Kong Ship Suspected of Selling Oil to North Korea

South Korea has seized a Hong Kong-registered ship that allegedly transferred oil to a North Korean vessel in violation of United Nations sanctions.

According to an official from the South Korean Foreign Ministry, the Lighthouse Winmore deported from the port of Yeosu in South Korea carrying refined oil which was then transferred to a North Korean ship in international waters.

“UN Security Council sanctions prohibit the transfer of anything to a North Korean ship,” the official told CNN, adding the Lighthouse Winmore was seized when it re-entered Yeosu on November 24. He did not say when the transfer occurred.

“This is one of the main ways in which North Korea uses an illegal network to circumvent UN Security Council sanctions,” the spokesman said. It is customary in South Korea that officials do not give their names.

‘Very disappointed’ in China

The seizure of the Hong Kong ship comes after US President Donald Trump tweeted Thursday he was “very disappointed” in China for allegedly selling oil to North Korea, saying Beijing had been “caught red handed” after news reports accused Chinese ships of performing ship-to-ship transfers of oil and coal on the high seas.

China has denied its vessels have traded with North Korean ships, with Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying saying this week Beijing has been “comprehensively, accurately, faithfully and strictly implementing” UN resolutions on North Korea.

In an interview with the New York Times published Thursday, Trump claimed “oil is going into North Korea” and appeared to blame China, saying if Beijing fails to put pressure on Pyongyang then the US may take punitive economic actions against Beijing.

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SOURCE: CNN, Jake Kwon and James Griffiths