Taiwanese Fishing Company Found Selling Oil To North Korea, Local Prosecutors Say


"The Hong Kong-flagged ship was chartered by Taiwanese company Billions Bunker Group and previously visited South Korea's Yeosu Port on October 11 to load up on Japanese refined oil and head to its claimed destination in Taiwan, the authorities noted".

Taiwan's authorities in the city of Kaohsiung launched an inquiry following South Korea's seizure of the Hong Kong-flagged Lighthouse Winmore, an oil tanker which delivered oil products to a North Korean vessel at sea.

But instead, it transferred as much as 544 tonnes to the North Korea-flagged Sam Jong 2 on October 19 in worldwide waters between China and the Korean peninsula, on the order of its charterer, Billions Bunker Group Corp., based in Taiwan, the ministry official said. "China will seriously punish any action that is verified as a violation of Security Council resolutions".

"We welcome the recent positive turn of events in the peninsular situation", a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said of the North-South Korea talks on Friday, adding hopes that "all relevant parties" will take the opportunity to bring the North Korean missile crisis "back to the correct track of peaceful settlement through dialogue and consultation".

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

The prosecutor's office in southern Kaohsiung began its investigation after reports last week that South Korean authorities seized a Hong Kong-flagged ship for violating United Nations sanctions by selling oil to North Korea and that a Taiwan company was involved.

On Thursday, the UN Security Council also denied worldwide port access to four more North Korean ships suspected of carrying banned goods, AFP reported. But Chinese leaders have warned against taking drastic measures that might destabilize Kim's government or send a wave of refugees fleeing into China.

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The U.S. has repeatedly called China a pivotal player in the effort to convince North Korea to rein in its nuclear program and ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

President Donald Trump on the other hand has accused China of selling oil to North Korea.

Taiwan's Presidential Office said the company that chartered the ship was not incorporated in Taiwan, but did not say whether the firm's owner or officials are Taiwanese.

It also caps crude oil supplies to North Korea at four million barrels a year and commits the Security Council to further cuts if North Korea conducts another nuclear or intercontinental ballistic missile test.

In a typically bellicose response, .

They have been imposed for more than a decade with little success.