BEIJING – China said on Friday it has been investigating alleged illegal sales of crude oil by vessels flying its flag to North Korean ships on the high seas, after accusations in the South Korean media.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying, said at a press conference that several reports had suggested that a Chinese vessel was suspected of transporting oil to North Korea on Oct. 19, and China immediately launched an investigation.
She said that the ship did not call at any Chinese port and she did not have any information about its passage through the ports of other countries.
Hua stressed that the reports, which first appeared in South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo, were not consistent with the facts.
China would never allow Chinese enterprises to violate United Nations resolutions, and in case of violations it would deal with them in accordance with laws and regulations, Hua said.
US President Donald Trump, after the allegations were published, said on Twitter that he was very disappointed with China, and this attitude would not help find a friendly solution to the North Korean crisis.
Hua said the hype of the media is not conducive to mutual trust between relevant parties, and urged the relevant parties to maintain closer communication and coordination to implement relevant resolutions.
South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported on Tuesday that US satellites over the Yellow Sea had spotted Chinese vessels selling oil to North Korean vessels 20 times since October.
The UN toughened its sanctions against Pyongyang last week, further limiting its access to oil products, banning its exports in various sectors and forcing citizens who work abroad to return to the country.