UN blacklists ships alleged to be smuggling oil to North Korea
The UN security council has blacklisted dozens of ships and shipping companies involved in smuggling oil and coal in and out of North Korea.Many of the ships were evidently transferring oil to North Korean ships in the open ocean in an attempt to avoid detection. The regime is desperate for fuel now that it has been cut off by China. That is probably one of the main reasons why it is now looking for a deal with Trump.
The security council’s North Korea sanctions committee on Friday acted on a request by the US, took action against 21 shipping companies – including five based in China – 15 North Korean ships, 12 non-North Korean ships and a Taiwanese man.
The move increases pressure on Pyongyang as the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, plans to meet with his South Korean and US counterparts.
It came days after Kim met the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, and an announcement that the North Korean leader would meet the South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, on 27 April. He is also scheduled to meet the US president, Donald Trump, some time in May.
While Trump has agreed to meet Kim, he tweeted on Wednesday that “maximum sanctions and pressure must be maintained”.
The US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, said the sanctions designations – the largest agreed by the council’s committee – were aimed at shutting down North Korea’s illegal smuggling activities to obtain oil and sell coal.