U.N. could expand North Korea blacklist

UNITED NATIONS Sat Jun 20, 2009 12:35am BST

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UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - A U.N. sanctions committee is considering blacklisting more North Korean companies, and individuals, for supporting Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs.

The 15-nation Security Council passed a resolution last week that expanded previous U.N. sanctions against North Korea in response to its May 25 nuclear test, and gave the committee 30 days to add new names to the sanctions list.

Turkish U.N. Ambassador Baki Ilkin, chairman of the North Korea sanctions committee, told reporters after a closed-door meeting on Friday that he had already received lists of candidates for blacklisting.

"There are some lists and there will be more of those, I presume," Ilkin told reporters. He declined to say which countries had submitted lists, though U.N. diplomats have said on condition of anonymity that the United States, Japan and Britain were among those preparing lists for the committee.

Ilkin said the committee would reconvene late next week.

The sanctions are intended to target only companies and individuals that are connected to Pyongyang's nuclear weapons and missile programs. The committee blacklisted three North Korean firms in April for aiding those programs.

The June 12 sanctions resolution banned all weapons exports from North Korea and most arms imports into the reclusive communist state.

It also authorized U.N. member states to inspect North Korean sea, air and land cargo, requiring them to seize and destroy any goods transported in violation of the sanctions.

North Korea responded by saying it would take "firm military action" if the United States and its allies tried to isolate it.

The sanctions committee was created after the Security Council adopted punitive measures against North Korea for its first nuclear test in October 2006.

(Editing by Anthony Boadle)

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