Sat, Mar 23, 2019 - Page 6 News List

US sanctions two Chinese firms over North Korea work


The US on Thursday imposed sanctions on two Chinese shipping companies it said had helped North Korea evade sanctions over its nuclear weapons program, the first such steps since a US-North Korean summit collapsed last month.

The US Department of the Treasury also issued an updated advisory that listed 67 vessels that it said had engaged in illicit transfers of refined petroleum with North Korean tankers or were believed to have exported North Korean coal.

The department identified the newly sanctioned firms as Dalian Haibo International Freight Co Ltd (大連海博國際貨運) and Liaoning Danxing International Forwarding Co Ltd (遼寧丹星國際貨運代理), which it said had helped North Korea evade US and international sanctions.

The move prohibits US dealings with the designated companies and freezes any assets they have in the US.

Washington announced the measures three weeks after a second meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un broke down over conflicting demands by North Korea for relief from sanctions and from the US for Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons.

The US has led international efforts to press North Korea through sanctions to give up its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

“The United States and our like-minded partners remain committed to achieving the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea and believe that the full implementation of North Korea-related UN Security Council resolutions is crucial to a successful outcome,” US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

“Treasury will continue to enforce our sanctions, and we are making it explicitly clear that shipping companies employing deceptive tactics to mask illicit trade with North Korea expose themselves to great risk,” he added.

The department said that Dalian Haibo was targeted for dealings with Paeksol Trading Corp, a company previously designated by US sanctions on North Korea.

Dalian Haibo shipped cargo from Dalian, China, to Paeksol in Nampo, North Korea, early last year aboard North Korean-flagged vessels, it said.

Liaoning Danxing had “routinely used deceptive practices” to enable the work of North Korean procurement officials based in the EU, the department said.

Evasion tactics employed by North Korea included disabling or manipulating automated identification systems, physically altering vessels, transferring cargoes between ships and falsifying cargo documentation, it said.

Ports visited by vessels involved in ship-to-ship transfers included those in Taiwan, China, Russia and South Korea, it added.

The department said that last year, North Korean ports received at least 263 tanker deliveries of refined petroleum via UN-prohibited ship-to-ship transfers.

If the tankers were fully laden, North Korea would have imported 3.78 million barrels — more than seven-and-a-half times the 500,000 barrels per year allowed under a UN resolution, it added.

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