The South Korean government seized a Hong Kong-registered ship last month for allegedly supplying oil to the North in breach of United Nations sanctions. The Koreans, armed with U.S. satellite photos said the ship Lighthouse Winmore transferred 600 tons of refined oil to a North Korean ship.

The UN Security Council resolution bans any ship-to-ship transfers of goods destined for Pyongyang.

The revelations came as China denied claims by President Donald Trump it had allowed oil shipments to the North.

The ship entered Yeosu port in South Korea on 11 October to load up with refined oil and left for Taiwan four days later, Yonhap news agency reported.

But instead of going to Taiwan it transferred the oil to a North Korean ship and three other vessels in international waters on 19 October, South Korean officials were quoted as saying.

This defies a UN Security Council resolution imposed on 11 September.

The New York Times said the transfer was captured in US satellite photos, released by the US Treasury in November, although the Lighthouse Winmore was not named by the Treasury.

The ship is registered in Hong Kong but the company that owns it is a shadowy group supposedly based in Taiwan. President Trump announced that the Chinese were behind it, which Beijing reported “was not consistent with the facts.”

North Korean state-owned news services have responded with the usual bluster that the sanctions are “an act of war” by the U.S.

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