Taiwan suspends oil exports to North Korea, imports of clothing

Trucks crossing the Friendship Bridge from the Chinese border city of Dandong to North Korea's Sinuiju over the Yalu river, on April 17, 2017.
Trucks crossing the Friendship Bridge from the Chinese border city of Dandong to North Korea's Sinuiju over the Yalu river, on April 17, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

TAIPEI (REUTERS) - Taiwan has suspended refined oil and LNG exports to North Korea, as well as clothing and textile imports, to comply with United Nations resolutions, a largely symbolic move by the island to show it is a responsible member of the international community.

Self-ruled Taiwan is not a member of the United Nations, due to Beijing's position that it is simply a Chinese province and so not able to have its own official diplomatic ties with anyone.

But proudly democratic Taiwan likes to show that it follows international norms, despite its lack of UN membership.

On Sept 11, the UN Security Council unanimously stepped up sanctions against North Korea over its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sept 3, imposing a ban on the isolated nation's textile exports and capping imports of crude oil.

To complement the UN measures, Taiwan said it would suspend liquefied natural gas, crude oil, and refined oil product exports to North Korea with effect from Tuesday (Sept 19), the Economics Ministry said in a statement.

Taiwan will suspend clothing and related textile good imports from North Korea, it added, adding that written pacts made before Sept 11 would prevail for imports until Dec 10, so long as a special permit is obtained from the trade office.

Taiwan's measure is aimed at "denouncing North Korea's recent successive nuclear tests and actions that jeopardise regional security", the Economics Ministry said.

Taiwan and North Korea have only a minuscule trading relationship. Taiwan says its exports to North Korea in the first six months of this year were worth just US$36,575 (S$49,273), an annual decrease of more than 90 per cent.

Last week, North Korea fired a missile that flew over Japan's northern Hokkaido region far out into the Pacific Ocean, shortly after its biggest nuclear test this month.