China has postponed a US request for a UN Security Council committee to blacklist dozens of ships, companies and a Taiwanese individual over violation of sanctions against North Korea.
Diplomats said on Friday that China placed a hold on the US request, Reuters reported, adding that Beijing did not provide any specific reason.
A hold, which is often used by UNSC members to obtain more information, can either be lifted or sometimes lead to a permanent blocking of a proposal.
Last week, the US requested the Security Council to subject 33 ships, 19 of which are North Korean, to a global port entry ban and freeze the assets of 27 shipping companies and the Taiwanese individual over interactions with Pyongyang.
Washington said the proposal was aimed at shutting down North Korea’s “illicit maritime smuggling activities to obtain oil and sell coal.”
Since 2006, the Security Council has intensified sanctions against North Korea over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, banning Pyongyang’s exports of coal, iron, lead, textiles and seafood, and the country’s imports of crude oil and refined petroleum products.
In late February, the US Treasury blacklisted more than 50 North Korea-linked shipping companies, vessels, and trade businesses, imposing an asset freeze and barring US citizens from dealing with them.
US President Donald Trump described the measures as the “heaviest sanctions ever” levied on Pyongyang.
The North Korean Foreign Ministry censured the US sanctions as an “act of war.”
Tensions have been high between Washington and Pyongyang over the latter’s missile and nuclear programs.
Although the US administration says it prefers a diplomatic solution to the crisis, it has repeatedly threatened Pyongyang with military action.
North Korea, already under numerous sanctions, has refused to halt its weapons program, pledging to keep up development of its military capabilities in response to the US military presence in the region.