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U.S. thanks Taiwan for sanctions on oil sales to North Korea

2018/01/17 16:21:16

Image taken from Pixabay

Taipei, Jan. 17 (CNA) The United States expressed gratitude to Taiwan Wednesday for imposing sanctions on a Taiwanese man and overseas companies he is thought to control for their alleged involvement in selling oil to North Korea in violation of United Nations sanctions imposed last year.

"We thank Taiwan for this powerful and timely action and for Taiwan's continued commitment to taking action to put diplomatic and economic pressure on North Korea as part of an international pressure campaign to compel the country to return to negotiations on denuclearization," American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) spokeswoman Sonia Urbom told CNA in an email.

AIT represents U.S. interests in Taiwan in the absence of diplomatic relations.

"Taiwan has set a valuable example for the international community," Urbom said in response to the Taiwan government's Jan. 12 sanction decision.

Chen Shih-hsien (陳世憲) was put on a sanction list, along with Billions Bunker Group Corp. registered in the British Virgin Islands, Billions Bunker Group Corp. registered in the Marshall Islands, Oceanic Enterprise Co. Ltd., and UMC Corporation Peru S.A.C, all companies that are related to Chen, according to the Ministry of Justice (MOJ).

Chen is suspected of chartering a Hong Kong-registered tanker through Billions Bunker Group, which has the same address in Taiwan as Chen's fishing companies in Kaohsiung, which allegedly transferred oil to a North Korean ship in mid-October.

Chen's vessel was then seized by South Korean customs officials, setting off an investigation in Taiwan.

Chen was questioned by Kaohsiung prosecutors Jan. 2, released on bail of NT$1.5 million (US$50,700) and barred from leaving the country.

By being put on the sanctions list by the MOJ-led Terrorism Financing Prevention Review Committee, Chen and his overseas companies cannot make withdrawals, remittances, transfers or payments, the ministry said.

(By Joseph Yeh)