China has put off a US-proposed request for a United Nations Security Council committee to ban 33 ships, 27 shipping companies, and a Taiwan man.

North Korean ship Mangyongbong-92 carrying the Samjiyon art troupe arrives at Mukjo port in Donghae, South Korea, on February 6, 2018.
North Korean ship Mangyongbong-92 carrying the Samjiyon art troupe arrives at Mukjo port in Donghae, South Korea, on February 6, 2018. (Reuters)

China delayed a US request for a United Nations Security Council committee to blacklist 33 ships, 27 shipping companies, and a Taiwan man for violating international sanctions on North Korea, diplomats said on Friday.

The United States submitted the request a week ago, a move it says is "aimed at shutting down North Korea's illicit maritime smuggling activities to obtain oil and sell coal."

The UN request coincided with the US 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.

China did not give a reason for placing a so-called hold on the US 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 agreed, the 33 ships proposed 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 individuals would be subjected to an asset freeze.

The UN 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.

Source: Reuters