SEOUL, An opposition lawmaker claimed Monday that the office of President Moon Jae-in failed to work actively to prevent imports of North Korean coal, saying it was nearly two weeks after the office learned of the suspected shipments that it held its first meeting on the matter.
Three South Korean firms were found to have imported North Korean coal on seven occasions between April and October last year in violation of the U.N. Security Council sanctions on Pyongyang. They were accused of forging customs documents to fake the coal's country of origin as Russia.
On Monday, Rep. Shim Jae-chul of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party said that the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae received reports about the suspected shipments on Oct. 3 and Oct. 11 last year, but the office held a meeting on the issue only 13 days later.
Shim cited documents from the unification ministry, the maritime ministry and the Coast Guard.
Cheong Wa Dae held three meetings on the issue between October and November last year, but none this year, Shim said.
That shows that the "Moon Jae-in government had no will to prevent imports of North Korean coal," the lawmaker said.
The North is banned from exporting coal, iron ore and other mineral resources under Resolution 2371 adopted in August last year. U.N. sanctions also call for a country to capture and look into vessels suspected of engaging in prohibited activities with the North.
Source: Yonhap News Agency