North Korea vows to press on with nuclear agenda as Russia denies trade violations
Pyongyang warns world leaders not to expect any change in policy, declaring itself a ‘responsible’ nuclear power. Russia has denied claims that UN sanctions against North Korea have been breached by Russian tankers transferring fuel to the regime’s tankers at sea. The statement from the foreign ministry said Russia has “fully and strictly observed the sanctions regime”. It came in response to a Reuters report citing two separate, unidentified western European security sources who said ship-to-ship transfers took place in October and November and represented a breach of sanctions. “Do not expect any change in its policy. Its entity as an invincible power can neither be undermined nor be stamped out,” the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said. “The US persistently moves against the DPRK in political, economic, military, diplomatic and all other fields till the end of this year could not stop even a moment the advance of the DPRK confident in the victory of its cause.” The security council has unanimously approved several rounds of sanctions against North Korea over its missile tests and nuclear program, including a tough resolution earlier this month. The two security sources quoted by Reuters cited naval intelligence and satellite imagery of the vessels operating out of Russian far eastern ports on the Pacific but declined to disclose further details. The security sources said the Russian-flagged tanker Vityaz was one vessel that had transferred fuel to North Korean vessels. The latest report follows China’s rejection of claims by Donald Trump that it had illicitly shipped oil products to North Korea. On Thursday the US president said Beijing had been “caught red-handed” and that he was “very disappointed that China is allowing oil to go into North Korea”. The Lighthouse Winmore, which was chartered by a Taiwanese company, was seized by South Korean customs authorities at the port of Yeosu on 24 November following an inspection.