United Nations bans 4 ships from all ports for North Korea ties

UN Places Port Ban on 4 Vessels for Violating UN Sanctions Against N. Korea

"But it's a port ban", said Hugh Griffiths, coordinator of the UN Security Council Panel of Experts on North Korea sanctions, adding the ships were found "transporting prohibited goods".

The Jie Shun was intercepted by Egypt on August 11, 2016, carrying 30,000 rocket propelled grenades in wooden crates concealed under about 2,300 tonnes of iron ore, according to United Nations sanctions monitors.

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". In November past year, the Security Council capped North Korean coal exports and then in August imposed a complete ban.

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The Japan Times reported that United Nations diplomats confirmed that a North Korean envoy was present at the meeting but did not participate.

North Korea is already banned from exporting coal, along with lead, iron and seafood products.

Griffiths identified the four ships as Petrel 8, Hao Fan 6, Tong San 2, and Jie Shun. The MarineTraffic website says the first three fly the flags of Comoros, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and North Korea.

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"This is the first time in United Nations history that four ships have been designated by the 1718 committee" after the latest sanctions resolution against North Korea was adopted on September 11, panel coordinator Hugh Griffiths told reporters.

"Sanctions are not a goal in itself", they aim to bring North Korea to a negotiating table to talk about its weapons programmes that are deemed threatening to the world stability, stressed the diplomat at the end of the meeting. Both have previously vetoed harsher sanctions on the secretive state. Those goods are estimated to be worth over USD1 billion - about one-third of the country's estimated $3 billion in exports in 2016.

Its plan is to further isolate the regime of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un diplomatically and cut off its access to the global financial system in the hopes that it will eventually put its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles on the negotiating table in exchange for sanctions relief.

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