By Michelle Nichols
UNITED NATIONS, Feb 23 (Reuters) - The United States proposed a list of entities on Friday to be blacklisted under United Nations sanctions on North Korea, a move it says is “aimed at shutting down North Korea’s illicit maritime smuggling activities to obtain oil and sell coal.”
“We are ramping up the pressure on the North Korean regime, and we’re going to use every tool at our disposal, including working with our allies and through the U.N., to increase the pressure until North Korea reverses course,” U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said in a statement.
The move coincides with the United States imposing its largest package of unilateral sanctions against North Korea on Friday, intensifying pressure on Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons and missile programmes.
The U.N. Security Council has unanimously boosted sanctions on North Korea since 2006 in a bid to choke off funding for Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs, banning exports including coal, iron, lead, textiles and seafood, and capping imports of crude oil and refined petroleum products.
The U.N. Security Council’s 15-member sanctions committee operates by consensus behind closed doors. The United States did not give further details of how many or what entities it had proposed to be blacklisted.
In October the United States proposed eight ships for U.N. designation for smuggling banned cargo from North Korea. The committee agreed to ban four ships from ports globally, while Washington postponed a bid to blacklist the remaining four.
In December the United States proposed 10 ships for blacklisting, the committee agreed to the designated four, while diplomats said China objected listing the remaining six. (Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by James Dalgleish)