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South Korea investigates alleged North Korean coal trans shipped to its ports

Coal News - Published on Wed, 18 Jul 2018

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Korea Herald reported that the Foreign Ministry is looking into cases in which North Korean coal was allegedly shipped to South Korea via Russia last year in violation of United Nations sanctions.

According to an annual UN sanctions committee report summited by a panel of experts, North Korean coal shipped to the Russian port of Kholmsk was unloaded at docks and reloaded onto two vessels that took it to South Korean ports of Incheon and Pohang in October.

North Korean coal was transported from the North’s ports of Wonsan and Chongjin to the Russian port of Kholmsk between July and September last year on six occasions.

A vessel, which was registered in Panama, arrived in Incheon on October 2 and the Sierra Leone registered vessel carrying 5,000 tonnes of North Korean coal arrived in Pohang on Oct. 11 last year, according to the UN report.

The report said that the shipment of North Korean coal to Pohang alone could be valued at around USD 325,000 if the per ton price is set at USD 65.

In an earlier report, Voice of America’s Korean language site had initially pointed to Incheon and Pohang as “final destinations,” but it recently made a change to refer to them as “ports for trans-shipment.”

VOA raised the possibility of North Korean coal shipped to South Korea being transported to other countries.

Asked about the shipments, the Foreign Ministry said that relevant authorities are investigating.

Mr Noh Kyu-duk ministry spokesperson said at a regular briefing that “Our government is making diplomatic efforts necessary to implement the UN Security Council sanctions on North Korea in close coordination with the international community.”

A Foreign Ministry official said on condition of anonymity that the South Korean government learned about the cases in October, before the UN sanctions committee.

The ongoing investigation focuses on finding out whether the coal was actually from North Korea, whether the trader intended to import North Korean coal and whether it constituted a breach of UN sanctions. The probe result is to be closely shared with the sanctions committee, the official said.

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Posted By : Amom Remju on Wed, 18 Jul 2018
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