TOKYO – Japan has detected a suspected cargo transfer between a North Korean ship and a Belize-registered vessel, which it believes to have involved goods violating international sanctions imposed on North Korea, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson told EFE on Thursday.
The transfer allegedly took place early Tuesday in the East China Sea between a Belizean ship, Wan Heng 11, and the North Korean Rye Song Gang 1.
Tokyo reported the incident to the United Nations Wednesday.
In the incident, captured by a Maritime Self-Defense Force airplane, both ships approached each other closely after exchanging light signals, which the Japanese Government believes to be a possible transfer of goods violating the sanctions imposed on Pyongyang.
Tuesday’s incident is the latest in a series of incidents involving North Korean vessels allegedly violating the ban on supplies to Pyongyang imposed as a result of its repeated nuclear and missile tests.
The alleged incidents provoked criticism from the President of the United States, Donald Trump, in December.
South Korean authorities have seized and are investigating two ships, one from Hong Kong and the other from Panama, suspected of selling oil to North Korea in violation of UN Security Council sanctions.
Allegations in December that US satellites had detected Chinese ships selling crude oil to North Korean vessels at least 20 times since October, which China has denied, led Trump to express his disappointment on social media.