World Bulletin / News Desk
South Korea revealed Tuesday the U.N. Security Council was examining oil trade between China and North Korea amid reports they circumvented global sanctions aimed at ending Pyongyang's nuclear weapon ambitions.
Satellite footage cited by local media earlier in the day suggested the old Korean War allies had been illegally trading oil in recent weeks.
The alleged revelation comes days after the UNSC imposed a new package of punitive measures against the North in response to its most recent long-range missile test in November. The latest sanctions, which required China's approval, further restrict Pyongyang's access to crude oil and refined petroleum.
A report in South Korean daily Chosun Ilbo alleged that American reconnaissance satellites had spotted around 30 cases of illegal oil trades by sea between China and North Korea since October.
"Currently, the UNSC sanctions committee [on North Korea] is leading a related discussion," Foreign Ministry spokesman Noh Kyu-duk told reporters according to Yonhap News Agency.
Noh pointed out Seoul would allow Beijing to explain the matter directly as "China has been underlining its stance of faithfully implementing related UNSC resolutions under the principle of not tolerating North Korean nuclear [weapons]".
South Korea has been trying to improve ties with China after suffering economic hardships stemming from Beijing's displeasure concerning this year's deployment of an American Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile battery in the South.
But Chinese entities could also be under threat given that UNSC sanctions target third parties doing illicit business with North Korea.
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