(From The Guardian)
The US has urged Russia and China to clamp down on repeated breaches of the oil sanctions regime imposed on North Korea, saying America had evidence of at least 89 illegal ship-to-ship oil transfers this year.
Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, was speaking at the UN headquarters in New York on Friday, the day after Russia and China at the UN sanctions committee rejected a US call to step up sanctions saying it needed further evidence of North Korean sanctions evasion.
The Russian and Chinese decision at the UN was the first fissure in the international alliance putting pressure on Pyongyang to act on its commitment to end its efforts to become a nuclear power and effectively delayed further discussions on extra sanctions for as long as six months.
The US claims on the basis of intelligence that North Korea using ship-to-ship transfers in international waters has breached a cap of 500,000 barrels of refined oil a year – imposed by the security council in December. The US had demanded an immediate halt to all further oil transfers. “Strict enforcement of sanctions” was critical to achieving the goal of North Korea’s denuclearisation, Pompeo said.