BELIZE CITY, Fri. Feb. 16, 2018– Reports in the international media say that a Belize-flagged ship has been spotted alongside a North Korean tanker about 250 kilometers east of Shanghai in violation of United Nations sanctions against North Korea. The two vessels were spotted by a Japanese spy plane.
The North Korean-flagged Rye Song Gang 1 and the Belize-flagged Wan Heng 11, which is owned by a Hong Kong company, were spotted in what appears to be a ship-to-ship transfer. The Rey Song Gang 1 is one of eight ships that have been banned from entering ports around the globe under UN sanctions against North Korea.
Last September, the UN Security Council passed a resolution that banned UN member states from engaging in ship-to-ship transfer with North Korea-flagged vessels.
“The United Nations passed successive rounds of sanctions against the North Korea regime last year, targeting energy imports, coal exports and foreign labor and shipping, among other things,” a CNN report said.
Japan and the United States have been patrolling the western Korean Peninsula since last year to enforce the UN sanctions against North Korea because of its nuclear and ballistic missile program.
The CNN report said, “Speaking in Japan last week ahead of his visit to Pyeongchang for the Winter Olympics, US Vice President Mike Pence said Washington plans to unveil what he called the ‘toughest and most aggressive’ sanctions yet against North Korea.”
“Together with Japan, and all our allies, we will continue to intensify our maximum pressure campaign until North Korea takes concrete steps toward complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization,” Pence said.