After briefing U.N. Security Council envoys in NY, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Ambassador to the United NationsNikki Haley warned against loosening sanctions on Pyongyang after Russian Federation and China suggested the council could discuss such a move.
"These illegal ship-to-ship transfers are the most prominent means by which these transfers are happening", Pompeo said. "We have teams in place that are working very hard on this issue every day", State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said Wednesday.
A committee member told CBS News that North Korean ships turn off their satellite tracking devices as they enter ports, making the evidence less than precise and enabling the subterfuge.
French Ambassador Francois Delattre said both Pompeo and Kang sought to "confirm the unity and firmness of the Security Council in the full implementation of the sanctions".
Last week, the United States asked a UN sanctions committee to order a halt to shipments of oil products to North Korea after accusing Pyongyang of exceeding a cap on fuel deliveries with illegal imports.
"We need to see Chairman Kim do what he promised the world he would do", Pompeo told reporters after meeting with the Security Council.
China, which is North Korea's closest ally and responsible for more than 90 percent of the isolated country's trade, backs North Korea's call for a "phased and synchronous" approach to denuclearization.
U.S. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said on Thursday it was technically possible for North Korea to eliminate its nuclear weapons program within a year, but added that it was not likely to happen. But Trump has recently been playing down expectations of quick results, saying this week there was "no time limit" on getting North Korea to denuclearize.
"We can't do one thing until we see North Korea respond to their promise to denuclearise", Haley said. He warned that "when sanctions are not enforced, the prospects for the successful denuclearization of North Korea are diminished". He added that China will "fully implement" United Nations sanctions resolutions, adding that "everyone" else should as well.
Mr Pompeo's talks followed an unprecedented summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un last month at which Mr Kim agreed to work toward the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.
A United Nations sanctions resolution adopted last year set ceilings for North Korea of four million barrels of crude oil per year and 500,000 barrels of refined oil products.
"We must also crack down on other forms of sanctions evasion, including the smuggling of coal by sea, smuggling by overland borders, and the presence of North Korean guest workers in certain countries", he said.
Russian Federation told the United Nations it is "closely examining this request and is seeking additional information on every single case of "illegal" transfer of petroleum", diplomats told Reuters.
"The problem that we are encountering", Haley said, "is that some of our friends have decided that they want to go around the rules".
The United States, however, blocked that statement, which would have expressed the council's "willingness to adjust the measures" targeting North Korea, diplomats said. Van Oosterom, who chairs the North Korea sanctions committee, told reporters: "I think for all of us it's clear that the progress is in the talks so far, that the engagement is there and the discussions are taking place".
Leicester sign goalkeeper Ward from Liverpool
And Daily Telegraph reporter Percy has delivered the latest update on Ward's situation at Liverpool FC. Foxes boss Claude Puel said on the club website: 'I'm very happy to welcome Danny to Leicester City .