The US and 16 other countries have requested Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force to patrol the waters of North Korea to locate ships trying to freight oil in breach of UN sanctions, Kyodo news agency reported.
According to the agency, Tokyo can provide a report with the results of locating ships trying to smuggle fuel in the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea during the meeting of foreign affairs ministers about the Korean Peninsula that is set to take place on 16 January in Vancouver.
In December, the UN Security Council passed new sanctions on North Korea that sharply reduced the amount of refined fuel the country can import. Chinese companies are allowed to export no more than 4 million barrels of oil and 500,000 barrels of refined petroleum products to North Korea per year. They are barred from supplying country’s military or weapons programs.
The UN Security Council urged member countries to inspect North Korean ships in their ports for prohibited cargo and terminate ship-to-ship transfers of fuel.
The international summit on finding a peaceful resolution to North Korea's nuclear program will take place in Vancouver, with both China and Russia absent from the meeting. The Russian Foreign Ministry has said that it considers the meeting as a revival of the Cold War approach and mentality, which is inappropriate in light of the dialogue between the North and South. Chinese spokesman Lu Kang said the meeting would not help to resolve the tensions on the Korean peninsula.