Taipei, Aug. 31 (CNA) Taiwan on Saturday vowed to join the international community's efforts to sanction North Korea, as the United States included into its sanctions list several Taiwanese individuals and shipping companies allegedly involved in covertly trading petroleum products with Pyongyang.
"As a responsible member of the international community, our country has always been collaborating in international actions to sanction North Korea. These efforts obtain high degree of recognitions from the U.S. and the international community," Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) spokesperson Joanne Ou (歐江安) said in a statement.
Ou added that Taiwan's judicial agencies are currently investigating those individuals and entities allegedly involved in assisting North Korea within Taiwan's jurisdiction, adding that the government urges Pyongyang to drop its nuclear weapons program for the peace and security of the region.
MOFA further said Taiwan's government will continue to collaborate with the United Nations Security Council in implementing related resolutions and warned its nationals not to get involved in financial and business activities that violate U.N. Security Council Resolutions.
U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on Friday announced in a statement that Taiwanese couple Huang Wang-ken (黃旺根) and Chen Mei-hsiang (陳美香), together with two Taiwan-based companies and one Hong Kong-based firm, had engaged in "at least one significant importation from or exportation to North Korea of any goods, services, or technology."
The OFAC also identified the Panama-registered vessel Shang Yuan Bao (上元堡), in which the above-mentioned individuals and entities all have an interest, as "blocked property" (restricted from normal operations) due to its involvement in illicit ship-to-ship (STS) transfers of petroleum products with North Korea-flagged vessels.
STS transfer refers to the transfer of cargoes from one ship to another while at sea rather than at port, according to the OFAC. It added that this method is commonly used by Pyongyang to circumvent U.N. sanctions that aimed to force the communist country to halt its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and missile development programs.
"Treasury will implement and enforce existing U.S. and U.N. sanctions on individuals, entities, and vessels involved in illicit ship-to-ship transfers with North Korean flagged vessels," the OFAC said, quoting U.S. Treasury Under Secretary Sigal Mandelker.
The OFAC said all property and interests of these individuals and entities in the U.S. must be blocked and warned that persons and financial institutions that engage in transactions with them may also face U.S. sanctions.
In the same statement, the OFAC said the U.S. acknowledges and is grateful for Taiwan's continued efforts to combat North Korea's attempts to evade sanctions and to obtain resources for its WMD and missile programs.