S Korea seizes Hong Kong vessel it says took oil to North

South Korea offers to talk with North ahead of Olympics

The KOTI was seized at Pyeongtaek-Dangjin port, the official said without elaborating, due to the sensitivity of the issue.

The seizing of the ships is part of ongoing efforts to implement U.N. Security Council resolutions on North Korea.

South Korea is holding a second ship on suspicion of supplying oil to North Korea in violation of global sanctions meant to punish Kim Jong-un's regime for its nuclear weapons and missile programmes. It is unclear when exactly KOTI was seized, but customs officials decided on December 21 to deny the ship permission to leave the port, a local maritime official told South Korean news agency Yonhap.

The move comes after months of attempts by Trump to pally up with Russian Federation and China in a bid to win their support over North Korea.

"The actions taken will be reported to the UN Security Council sanctions committee on North Korea in the future". "As for the KOTI, an investigation is underway", a foreign ministry spokeswoman told CNN by telephone.

The country alleges a Hong Kong-registered ship transferred oil to a North Korean ship in October.

On the same day, a Chinese vessel was seen transferring oil to North Korea's Rye Song Gang 1 ship in U.S. Treasury Department's satellite images first published in the South Korean newspaper The Chosun Ilbo earlier this week, one of 30 such instances reported in three months. But South Korean officials did not confirm if the Lighthouse Winmore was one of the vessels pictured.

It did say resolutions by the United Nations Security Council have imposed limits on North Korea's refined oil imports but haven't banned them altogether.

A Reuters report on Friday also cited two unnamed European intelligence agencies saying that tankers operating out of the Russian Far East were also transferring oil to North Korea at sea. It didn't include even harsher measures sought by Washington that would ban all oil imports and freeze worldwide assets of the government and its leader, Kim Jong Un.

Even though the Sam Jong 2 was not among the four banned vessels, it appears on a list of six other ships suspected of transporting illicit cargo, along with the Lighthouse Winmore.

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.

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