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U.S. sanctions against Pyongyang involve Taiwanese national, companies

2018/02/24 12:42:46

Washington, Feb. 23 (CNA) The new sanctions imposed by the United States against North Korea involved a Taiwanese citizen and two Taiwan-linked companies, according to the U.S. Department of Treasury.

U.S. President Donald Trump announced during his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) held on Friday that the U.S. Treasury is imposing the largest-ever sanctions against North Korea in a bid to force Pyongyang to give up its aggressive ambitions in developing nuclear weapons and ensure regional and global security.

Following Trump's announcement, the U.S. Treasury released a list involving one person, 27 companies and 28 ships from North Korea, China, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan, and the only person facing the sanctions was referred to as a Taiwanese -- Tsang Yung-yuan (張永源).

"Tsang has coordinated North Korean coal exports with a Russia-based North Korean broker, and he has a history of other sanctions evasion activities," the Treasury said in a statement.

According to the U.S. Treasury, its Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has also identified two Taiwan-linked entities in the new sanctions list -- Taiwan-based Pro-Gain Group Corporation and Taiwan and Marshall Islands-based Kingly Won International Co., Ltd. -- which are owned or controlled by Tsang.

In addition to being caught helping North Korea export its coal, the OFAC said, Tsang was also alleged to have been involved in an oil sale deal with North Korea.

In 2017, the OFAC said, Tsang and one of his entities, Kingly Won, attempted to engage in an oil deal valued at more than US$1 million with the Russia-based Independent Petroleum Co., which was operating in the energy industry in the North Korean economy.

In Taipei, Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) issued a statement late Friday night reiterating that the government will work closely with the international community to sanction North Korea, while keeping close contacts with Washington on the matter.

Deputy Justice Minister Chen Ming-tang (陳明堂) said prosecutors have launched an investigation into Tsang and the two Taiwanese entities to seek more evidence about their alleged actions violating international sanctions against North Korea.

On the new sanctions list, the entities listed that are based in China and Hong Kong include: Shangdong-based Weihai World-Shipping Freight, Shanghai-based Shanghai Dongfeng Shipping Co Ltd., Hong Kong-based shipping companies Liberty Shipping Co. Ltd., Chang An Shipping & Technology, Hongxiang Marine Hong Kong Ltd., Shen Zhong International Shipping Ltd., and Huaxin Shipping Hong Kong Ltd.

"If the sanctions don't work, we'll have to go to phase two," Trump told attendees of the CPAC. "Phase two may be a very rough thing, may be very, very unfortunate for the world. But hopefully the sanctions will work."

In response to the sanctions, the MOFA said as one of the members of the international community, the Republic of China (Taiwan) has made plenty of efforts in recent months to implement sanctions against North Korea.

It called on people in Taiwan not to violate any sanctions imposed by the United Nations against Pyongyang by conducting financial or commercial activities with the country, warning they will face punishment if they do so.

The ministry said Taiwan will continue to honor its commitment to impose diplomatic and economic pressure on Pyongyang, hoping Taiwan will serve as a model in the international community.

(By Chiang Chin-yeh, Elaine Hou and Frances Huang)
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