China asks for hold on UN ban of North Korea traders

FILE - This Feb. 16, 2018, file photo released by Japan's Ministry of Defense, shows what it says is North Korean-flagged tanker Yu Jong 2, bottom, and Min Ning De You 078 lying alongside in the East China Sea performing a ship-to-ship transfer. China's government said Tuesday, March 6, 2018, it asked for a temporary hold on a U.S. request for United Nations sanctions against ships accused of violating trade restrictions on North Korea while it studies what entities are involved. (Ministry of Defense via AP, File)
FILE - This Feb. 16, 2018, file photo released by Japan's Ministry of Defense shows what it says North Korean-flagged tanker Yu Jong 2, left, and Min Ning De You 078 lying alongside in the East China Sea performing a ship-to-ship transfer. China's government said Tuesday, March 6, 2018, it asked for a temporary hold on a U.S. request for United Nations sanctions against ships accused of violating trade restrictions on North Korea while it studies what entities are involved. (Ministry of Defense via AP, File)

BEIJING — China's government said Tuesday it asked for a hold on a U.S. request for United Nations sanctions against ships accused of helping North Korea evade sanctions imposed over its weapons programs while it looks into who would be affected.

Beijing needs time to investigate because the request to ban violators from global ports and blacklist trading companies covers a "large number of ships and entities," said a foreign ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang.

Washington requested the sanctions following reports foreign traders are helping North Korea violate limits on oil imports and other trade imposed in an effort to pressure leader Kim Jong Un to stop nuclear and missile development.

China was long North Korea's diplomatic protector and accounts for most of its trade but has supported the latest sanctions out of frustration with Pyongyang's weapons development. Beijing has argued against measures that might destabilize Kim's government.

"It takes some time for us to look into the matter together with other agencies," said Geng at a regular news briefing.

"We put a hold on the relevant proposal for a technical reason," he said. "We will make our decision in light of the Security Council resolutions' requirements and on the basis of the fact."

U.S. and Japanese authorities say they have photographer traders transferring oil at sea to North Korean vessels in violation of the sanctions.

South Korean authorities have seized two vessels suspected of moving oil to the North. Taiwanese authorities are investigating a businessman suspected of arranging oil sales. Australian authorities have arrested a man accused of trying to broker sales of goods including components for ballistic missiles to North Korea.

Last week, the Maldives government denied a report by Japan's foreign ministry that a Maldivian-flagged ship transferred goods to a North Korean-flagged tanker at sea.

Must Read

China launches second space station, Tiangong 2

Sep 15, 2016

China has launched its second space station in a sign of the growing sophistication of its...

China plans 30,000-km high speed rail network by...

Dec 29, 2016

The Chinese government is planning to expand the country's high-speed rail network to 30,000...

China pledges further cuts in excess steel, coal...

Jan 10, 2017

China's top economic planner has pledged to continue cutting steel and coal production, which have...

South Korean cinema leads nominees at Asian Film...

Jan 11, 2017

South Korean cinema has fared well in the nominations for the Asian Film Awards

China auto market has bumper year but 2017...

Jan 12, 2017

Industry figures show China's auto market had a bumper year in 2016 as sales grew by 15 percent,...

Sign up now!

Advertisement