(Sankei: January 12, 2016 – Top play)
Two cargo ships operated by a company that replaced the North Korean shipping company , Ocean Maritime Management (OMM), which is subject to an asset freeze by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), had been sold to a Chinese company, sources involved in Korean Peninsula relations disclosed on Jan. 11. The two ships were secretly brought to China and dismantled. Although the UNSC requires UN member states, including China, to implement its resolution banning the buying and selling of North Korean ships subject to its sanctions, it is now obvious that the UNSC resolution now completely lacks substance. While condemning Pyongyang’s nuclear tests, China has done nothing about North Korean ships that could pose a military threat.
According to the sources, the two North Korean ships were sold to the Chinese company one after another from 2014 to 2015. Each ship was apparently sold at around 100 million yen, half of the appropriate price. Both ships were dismantled at a port in Jiangyin City located in the eastern part of China and their parts were resold.
Although it was confirmed in the summer of 2014 that the two ships made port calls at Shanghai and other ports, China did not seize them following the UNSC resolution.
OMM has been split up into multiple companies in recent years. It has continued to operate 12 ships, including dilapidated ones that have been in service for more than 30 years, by changing their names out of fear that they would be seized at foreign ports.
The company that replaced OMM used part of the profits of the sale of the two ships to pay off debts under pressure from multiple creditors, including Chinese companies. It is actively negotiating behind the scenes to spend the profits from the sale of the ships on the purchase of a new ship.
The sources are increasingly alarmed about “the possibility of North Korea transporting arms by using the new ship as a measure to avoid sanctions based on the view that the international community will step up its surveillance activities due to its recent nuclear test.”