Taiwan inspects port, tells shippers to follow N.Korea sanctions

TAIPEI, Oct 8 (Reuters) - Taiwan government officials inspected one of the island’s major ports on Thursday to check shippers were in compliance with United Nations sanctions against North Korea, after previously being implicated in breaking them.

Taiwan, claimed by China as its own, is not a member of the United Nations, but says that as a responsible global player it is committed to enforcing sanctions to rein in North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes.

In 2018, independent U.N. monitors told a U.N. Security Council sanctions committee in a confidential report they had investigated cases of ship-to-ship transfers of petroleum products in violation of sanctions and that the network behind the vessels was primarily based in Taiwan.

Taiwan’s Transport Ministry said on Thursday in a statement its inspection team it had sent to Taichung port did not find any evidence of wrongdoing related to North Korea, but urged all shipping companies and operators to continue to comply with U.N. sanctions.

“Do not engage in transactions with North Korea or assist in the transport of materials, so as to avoid violating the law and avoid chartering vessels that violate U.N. Security Council resolutions or are suspected of violating U.N. embargo measures.”

In May, a senior Taiwanese security official told the United States’ deputy representative for North Korea that Taiwan was complying with international sanctions against North Korea.

Taiwan has repeatedly called on its companies to comply with U.N. sanctions, and in 2017 suspended refined oil and LNG exports to North Korea, as well as clothing and textile imports. (Reporting by Ben Blanchard Editing by Tomasz Janowski)