United Nations slaps port ban on ships dodging N. Korea curbs

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The coordinator of the panel of the United Nations regarding North Korean sanctions Hugh Griffiths called the move unprecedented. Griffiths said the four ships were officially listed on October 5 "for transporting prohibited goods", stressing that this was "swift action" by the sanctions committee following the August 6 Security Council resolution that authorized port bans. Both countries have previously vetoed tougher sanctions against the DPRK.

The Hao Fan 6 was shown to be flagged to St. Kitts and Nevis, tracked in the East Sea and listed as being en route from Vladivostok, Russia, to Abashiri, Japan.

He also pointed to the significance of implementing a port ban, rather than an assets freeze or travel ban - meaning that the vessels "are banned from all ports". Last month the sanctions expanded, are now forbidden the export of textiles and restrictions on the import of oil and work for the people of North Korea. Griffiths identified the four vessels as the Petrel 8, Hao Fan 6, Tong San 2 and Jie Shun.

As agreed by EU Foreign Ministers at their informal meeting in Tallinn on September 7, 2017, "the Council is now working on possible additional EU autonomous sanctions to complement and reinforce the UN Security Council sanctions", the statement said. Those goods are estimated to be worth over $1 billion _ about one-third of the country's estimated $3 billion in exports in 2016.

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This resolution also authorizes the 1718 Committee, or the so-called sanctions committee named after the first UNSC resolution on Pyongyang in 2006, to prohibit port calls by designated vessels and chartering of North Korea-flagged vessels. Prohibitions on authorizing new permits to North Korean workers to work overseas are also in place.

North Korea's United Nations envoy last week accused the USA of working to block economic development and denounced sanctions imposed on poor countries as a bid to "destroy modern civilization". "Just a means. But of course, to be effective, sanctions must be applied by everybody".

However, repeated sanctions have been unable to constrain North Korea from continuing its programs to develop nuclear weapons and missiles.

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