China investigates possible UN offenses related to North Korea sanctions

China is deeply concerned about reports that a country ship is transferring goods to a North Korean ship on the high seas, a move that violates UN sanctions on North Korea. China's Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that the country's authorities are conducting an investigation.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Geng Shuang said his country would seriously handle individuals or Chinese companies that are known to be involved in the incident reported Japan earlier this week.

He further said the punishment of those involved would be imposed on the basis of strong evidence and in accordance with Chinese laws and regulations.

The Japanese Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday (20/2) a maritime watchdog and a escort ship found a North Korean flagship tanker, identified as Yu Jong 2, was next to a small ship last Friday some 250 kilometers from Shanghai in the East China Sea.

See also: Japan Tuding China Transfer Cargo to North Korea

The country of origin of the ship was unknown, but the cementer ian says, the words "Min Ning De You 078" in Chinese are written on the ship's bow, which means oil ship from Ningde city, Fujian province, China.

The ministry has reported the suspicious transfers to the UN Security Council. This is the third such incident reported by Tokyo this year. [ab/lt]