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(LEAD) N.K. asks S. Korea to offer fuel for ship that carried art troupe

All Headlines 12:52 February 07, 2018

(ATTN: ADDS more info, photo throughout)

SEOUL, Feb. 7 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has asked South Korea to supply fuel to its ship that carried the North's art troupe to the South a day earlier as the ferry will be used for its lodging, Seoul's unification ministry said Wednesday.

The Samjiyon art troupe traveled to the South by ferry Tuesday to perform in celebration of the PyeongChang Winter Games on a rare trip that involved Seoul temporarily exempting a North Korean ship's sea travel from its sanctions.

This photo shows the Mangyongbong-92, a North Korean ship. (Yonhap)

"The North has asked the South to provide fuel (to the ship). The government is currently reviewing it," Baik Tae-hyun, ministry spokesman, told a press briefing.

It is not immediately known how much fuel the North has requested.

But the delivery of refined petroleum products to the North could be tricky as the U.N. Security Council in December 2017 adopted sanctions that include a cap on exports of such goods to the North to 500,000 barrels per year.

The ministry said Tuesday that it is likely to provide food, fuel and electricity to the North when the ship Mangyongbong-92 anchors at the South Korean eastern port of Mukho.

But later, the ministry revised its previous comment, saying the North did not ask for detailed services and nothing specific has been decided.

It has been said that Seoul would make sure U.S. food ingredients were not included in meals, in a bid to prevent a possible violation of U.S. sanctions that ban the delivery of American goods and services to North Korea.

"The government will make efforts to make sure any provisions are not a possible violation of international sanctions through close consultation with the U.S. and other countries," the spokesman said.

The ferry will be used as accommodation for the art group when it holds the gig in Gangneung, some 237 kilometers east of Seoul.

He said that the two Koreas are in discussion over when the ferry will come back home.

This photo, taken Feb. 7, 2018, shows members of North Korea's art troupe visiting South Korea to perform in celebration of the PyeongChang Winter Games. (Yonhap)


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