UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. Security Council has decided to lift sanctions on four ships originally linked to a North Korean shipping company after determining that there were no ties to the company as China claimed.
Two U.N. diplomats confirmed Tuesday that the Security Council committee monitoring sanctions against North Korea has taken the ships off the U.N. blacklist. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying also confirmed the move in a statement provided by a spokesman from China's U.N. Mission.
One of the ships that had sanctions lifted is the Jin Teng, which was on the list of 31 ships linked to North Korea's Ocean Maritime Management company whose vessels have carried arms and illegal goods to the country.
It was inspected and detained in Subic Bay, a former U.S.-run naval base in The Philippines, soon after the Security Council imposed its toughest-ever sanctions on North Korea on March 2.
The Philippines Coast Guard said it was coming from Indonesia and loaded with palm kernel expeller, which is a byproduct of palm oil production that has several uses, including as feed for farm animals. It said the ship's documents showed the cargo was for consignees in the Philippines and no new cargo would be loaded at Subic Bay.
China asked the sanctions committee to remove the four ships from the list after discovering that they were not part of Ocean Maritime Management's fleet.
The United States and China, North Korea's traditional ally, spent seven weeks negotiating new sanctions in response to the North's fourth nuclear test in January and rocket launch in February.
They include, among other things, mandatory inspections of cargo leaving and entering North Korea by sea or air.
The Jin Teng, docked at the Port of Subic