U.S. thanks Taiwan for action against North Korea oil sale

Taiwanese businessman investigated in oil delivery

The Lighthouse Winmore, reportedly leased by a Taiwan businessman to supply North Korea with oil. (By Associated Press)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The United States Department of State has thanked Taiwan for blacklisting a Taiwanese businessman and his companies for allegedly selling oil to North Korea despite United Nations sanctions.

Chen Shih-hsien (陳世憲) and four companies believed to be linked to him were reportedly involved in the transfer of oil products from a tanker they had leased to a North Korean vessel last October.

South Korea apprehended the ships and told Taiwan it was involved. Prosecutors in Kaohsiung questioned Chen but freed him on bail of NT$1.5 million (US$50,000) on January 3 after he reportedly told him he was unaware the oil was going to North Korea.

The sanctions issued on Friday mean that Chen and his companies will be unable to conduct banking transactions, the Central News Agency reported.

Grace Choi, spokesperson at the State Department for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, told CNA that the U.S. was aware of the measures and thanked Taiwan for its strong and speedy actions which would help continue diplomatic and economic pressure on North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapon development.

Taiwan had established a valuable model for the international community, Choi said.