DAEJEON, Oct. 11 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's customs office said Thursday that it has been investigating two additional suspected cases of North Korean coal shipments that may be in violation of international sanctions against Pyongyang.
The Korea Customs Service (KCS) said it had secured related documents and informed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other related government agencies of such investigations.
In August this year, the customs office said North Korean coal and pig iron worth a combined 6.6 billion won (US$5.8 million) were brought into South Korea from April through October of 2017.
Three South Korean firms imported North Korean coal from Russia by forging customs documents in apparent violation of a U.N. sanctions resolution.
They were found to have transshipped the materials at a Russian port and manipulated documents on the country of origin or the type of products being imported.
The North is banned from exporting coal, iron ore and other mineral resources under Resolution 2371 passed in August last year. U.N. sanctions call for a country to capture and look into a vessel suspected of engaging in prohibited activities with North Korea.
Some sources have said Russia has served as a transit hub for illicit North Korean coal exports, adding to concerns about persistent loopholes in the implementation of the resolutions.
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