Tokyo, Feb 15 (IANS) Japan has detected a suspected cargo transfer between a North Korean ship and a Belize-registered vessel, which apparently involves goods violating international sanctions imposed on North Korea, an official said on Thursday.
The transfer allegedly took place on Tuesday in the East China Sea between Belizean ship Wan Heng 11 and the North Korean Rye Song Gang 1, a Japanese Foreign Ministry spokesperson told Efe news.
Tokyo reported the incident to the UN on Wednesday.
In the incident, captured by a Maritime Self-Defence Force airplane, both ships approached each other closely after exchanging light signals.
The Japanese government said it believes that the movement was “a possible transfer of goods violating the sanctions imposed on Pyongyang”.
The incident was the latest in a series of incidents involving North Korean vessels allegedly violating the ban on supplies to Pyongyang imposed as a result of its repeated nuclear and missile tests.
The alleged incidents provoked criticism from US President Donald Trump in December.
South Korean authorities had seized and were investigating two ships, one from Hong Kong and the other from Panama, suspected of selling oil to North Korea in violation of the UNSC sanctions.
Allegations in December that US satellites had detected Chinese ships selling crude oil to North Korean vessels at least 20 times since October, which China has denied, led Trump to express his disappointment on the social media.