China promises to 'deal seriously' with sanctions violators

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Last month, the UN Security Council voted unanimously to punish President Kim Jong Un's regime for a missile test by limiting access to refined oil and requir ing all North Koreans working overseas to return home in 24 months.

"Caught RED HANDED - very disappointed that China is allowing oil to go into North Korea".

On Wednesday, South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo reported that Chinese shipping companies were dodging the United Nations sanctions on oil sales to North Korea by registering ships in third countries.

China accounts for almost all of Pyongyang's energy supplies and trade, making its enforcement key to sanctions aimed at discouraging leader Kim Jong Un from pursuing nuclear and missile technology.

China has steadily increased economic pressure on Pyongyang while calling for dialogue to defuse the increasingly acrimonious dispute with U.S. President Donald Trump's government.

The announcement by China's Commerce Ministry follows an agreement between North and South Korea to hold talks Tuesday for the first time in two years.

Observers believe that the North could issue a response to Seoul's offer some time on Friday given that on Thursday South Korea and the US agreed not to hold joint military exercises during the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

On Sunday, a South Korean customs official told Reuters that authorities had seized another ship, a Panama-flagged vessel, suspected of having transferred oil products to North Korea in violation of the sanctions.

In August 2017, he was appointed as the special representative on Korean peninsula affairs, replacing Wu Dawei, who retired after more than 13 years overseeing the North Korea issue.

The new measures also ban sales of steel, industrial machinery and vehicles.

China will also halt imports of North Korean foods and electric appliances, starting on January 23rd.

Chinese officials complain their country bears the cost of enforcement, which they say has hurt businesses in its northeast.

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