According to various reports in South Korean news outlets, Seoul seized a Hong Kong-registered ship after it transferred oil products to a North Korean vessel in October. The Chinese Foreign Ministry denied the allegations on Friday.

Satellite images of the ship

Satellite images of the ship Photo Credit: US Treasury Department

South Korea reportedly seized a Hong Kong-registered ship in October for transferring oil products to a North Korean ship. Following the reports, US President Donald Trump accused China of breaching sanctions on the isolated dictatorship. “Caught RED HANDED – very disappointed that China is allowing oil to go into North Korea,” Trump posted on his Twitter account on Thursday. “There will never be a friendly solution to the North Korea problem if this continues to happen!”

The ship in question, the Lighthouse Winmore, was headed to Taiwan but instead transferred 600 tons of refined oil products to four vessels in international waters, South Korean officials were quoted as saying in various reports.

China has since denied the allegations and said that the information does not accord with the facts. South Korean officials told reporters that the vessel’s crew remain in custody and are under investigation.

Earlier this month, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said his country encourages negotiations between the US and North Korea. “We hope all relevant parties can maintain calm and restraint and take steps to alleviate tensions and not provoke each other,” Shuang said. “The outbreak of war is not in any side’s interest. The ones that will suffer the most are ordinary people.”