Panamanian vessel probed over suspected oil supplies to N. Korea

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South Korea says it is inspecting a Panama-flagged oil tanker suspected of evading global sanctions by trading with North Korea.

The ship, seized at Yeosu Port on November 24, is suspected of transferring 600 tons of refined petroleum to a North Korean ship named Samjong No. 2.

The investigation has so far determined that the ship was chartered by a Taiwanese company, Billions Bunker Group, and had initially docked in Yeosu Port on October 11 to take on a cargo of Japanese refined petroleum before going on to its final declared destination of Taiwan four days later.

The seizure was the second to be revealed by South Korea within a few days, as the United Nations steps up efforts to squeeze essential oil supplies to the reclusive North following its nuclear or ballistic missile tests.

South Korean officials are holding the 5100-tonne, Panama flagged tanker called KOTI in Pyeongtaek-Dangjin after deciding not to let release the vessel on December 21 to investigate further.

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The Seoul government announced Friday it is investigating a Hong Kong-flagged ship named the Lighthouse Winmore for allegedly transferring oil to a North Korean vessel in worldwide waters on October 19.

"The government has been in close consultations with related countries and ministries to thoroughly implement the sanctions by the UN Security Council", the spokesman said.

Russian Federation denied the reports on Saturday, saying via its foreign ministry that it "fully observes fully the sanctions regime" against North Korea.

China denied Friday that it was supplying oil to North Korea, USA Today reported.

Her remarks came after U.S. President Donald Trump, in a Twitter post Thursday, wrote, "Caught RED HANDED - very disappointed that China is allowing oil to go into North Korea". "There will never be a friendly solution to the North Korea problem is this continues to happen!"

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