Japan: N. Korea using foreign-flagged vessels to smuggle fuel

The North Koreans are using foreign-flagged ships to smuggle fuel into the country by conducting transfers on the high seas in order to skirt UN sanctions, reports Japanese media.

The smuggling is also raising concerns among other countries whether Russia and China have a roll in it or are at least turning a blind eye to the activity.

U.S. intelligence and military sources have confirmed that North Korea is using ships registered in the African nations of Tanzania and Togo, as well as the Pacific island nation of Palau, to transfer oil and other cargo at sea.

The ships are being used to export North Korean coal to Russia, China, and other countries, while oil is then transferred to the foreign-flagged vessels.

A U.N. Security Council resolution in September banned the transfer of cargo to North Korean ships on the open seas. In December, another resolution was approved to reduce exports of refined petroleum products to North Korea by 90 percent. [source]

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Jon E. Dougherty is a political, foreign policy and national security analyst and reporter with nearly 30 years of experience in both fields. A U.S. Army veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, he holds BA in Political Science from Ashford University and an MA in National Security Studies/Intelligence Analysis from American Military University.

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