North Korea sanctions: UN blacklists shipping firms

The shipping port of Rason in North Korea, established to promote economic growth through foreign investment Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The move is aimed at restricting the smuggling of commodities such as oil and coal

The UN Security Council has blacklisted 27 ships, 21 shipping companies and one individual for aiding North Korea in its effort to evade sanctions.

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

Sanctioned oil tankers and cargo vessels are banned from ports worldwide and businesses face an asset freeze.

It is the UN's largest ever package of designated penalties against Pyongyang.

North Korea is already under a range of international and US sanctions over its nuclear programme and missile tests.

The US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, said the latest measures were a "clear sign that the international community was united" in its efforts to increase pressure on the North Korean regime.

The reclusive nation has been subjected to numerous rounds of international sanctions since 2006, which has cut off most of its exports and capped its imports of oil.

Diplomats believe that the imposed sanctions have been key to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's decision to pause missile and nuclear tests and begin talks.

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

The list includes 16 companies based in North Korea, five registered in Hong Kong, two on the Chinese mainland, two in Taiwan, one in Panama and one in Singapore.

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