China delayed a U.S. request for a U.N. Security Council committee to blacklist 33 ships, 27 shipping companies and a Taiwan man for violating international sanctions on North Korea, diplomats said Friday.
The United States submitted the request a week ago, a move it said was "aimed at shutting down North Korea's illicit maritime smuggling activities to obtain oil and sell coal."
The request coincided with the United States' imposition of its largest package of unilateral sanctions against North Korea,intensifying pressure on Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons and missile programs.
China did not give a reason for placing a hold on the U.S.request. A hold can be lifted and is often used when a Security Council member wants more information, but sometimes it can lead to a permanent blocking of a proposed blacklisting.
The Security Council North Korea sanctions committee works on the basis of unanimity.
If the U.S. request is agreed to, the 33 ships cited by the United States, 19 of which are North Korean vessels, would be subjected to a global port entry ban. Countries would also be required to deregister the 14 ships that are not North Korean.
The 27 proposed companies and the one individual would be subjected to an asset freeze.
The 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.
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 designate four, while diplomats said China objected to listing the remaining six.