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Japan suspects another N. Korean tanker breaching sanctions at sea

Japan’s Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that another North Korean tanker is suspected of transferring goods on a vessel in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions. It is the fourth time that Japan has suspected such an illegal transfer in recent weeks, Reuters reports. The statement comes as the Trump administration and key Asian allies prepare to expand interceptions of ships suspected of violating sanctions on North Korea. The North Korean-flagged tanker ‘Chon Ma San,’ designated by the US as a sanction target, was spotted by a Japanese surveillance plane with the Maldivian-flagged tanker ‘Xin Yuan 18’ some 250km east of Shanghai on Saturday, the ministry said. The two vessels remained alongside each other with their lights turned on at night, and they “could have been engaged in some type of activity,” according to the release. The government of Japan “strongly suspects that they conducted ship-to-ship transfers” banned by UN Security Council resolutions, it added.