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UN Security Council

UN Security CouncilReuters

A UN Security Council committee has blacklisted 27 ships, 21 shipping companies and one individual on Friday, over alleged smuggling of oil and coal to North Korea.

The measures were proposed by the USA last month as part of a crackdown on the maritime smuggling of North Korean commodities such as oil and coal.

The action bans global port entry for 13 North Korean oil tankers and cargo vessels, and 12 other ships suspected of helping North Korea smuggle oil and banned commodities.

The move was "clear sign that the worldwide community was united" in intensifying pressure against North Korea, US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley stated.

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US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley stated that these sanctions, which are the largest agreed by the Committee of the Council aimed at ending the illegal smuggling of North Korea. The toughest, last year, banned key North Korean exports like coal, seafood and textiles, as well as drastically reducing the amount of petroleum the North was allowed to import.

Thirteen of the 25 are North Korean while the other 12 are foreign-flagged. Three of them are based in Hong Kong including Huaxin Shipping, which delivered shipments of North Korean coal to Vietnam in October.

Also blacklisted was Taiwanese businessman Tsang Yung Yuan, who was hit by a global travel ban and assets freeze for organising illegal shipments of North Korean coal with a North Korean broker in Russian Federation.

The sanctions were approved as the United States moves to open talks with North Korea on its nuclear drive, with a possible summit meeting between US President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un to be held by the end of May.

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The global community has applied pressure on North Korea by imposing sanctions against it in a bid to force Pyongyang to give up its ambitions of developing nuclear weapons.

Among the 21 companies were two owned or controlled by Tsang - Pro-Gain Group Corp., which is based in Taiwan, and Kingly Won International Co., Ltd., which has bases in Taiwan and the Marshall Islands.

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un recently met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing as part of the young despot's first trip overseas since he became the leader of North Korea.

The latest restrictions are directed not just at North Korea's shipping operations but Chinese companies trading with Pyongyang.

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