U.N. North Korea sanctions lifted on four ships -U.S. official

UNITED NATIONS/SEOUL, Jumada II 13, 1437, March 22, 2016, SPA — The U.N. Security Council agreed on Monday to a Chinese request to remove sanctions on four ships that had been blacklisted for ties to Pyongyang after China secured assurances the vessels would not use North Korean crews, a U.S. official said, according to Reuters.

The ships were among 31 vessels sanctioned by the 15-member council on March 2 because they were owned by North Korean shipping firm Ocean Maritime Management Company (OMM).

“We discovered that they are not OMM ships,” Chinese U.N. Ambassador Liu Jieyi told Reuters on Monday. “The basis for the listing of the ships is basically that they belong to OMM, so if you make a mistake then you correct the mistake.”

The U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Security Council committee on North Korea sanctions agreed to the request after China secured written commitments that the four ships would no longer use North Korean crews. He added that an official announcement was expected shortly.

The four ships include the Jin Teng, a cargo ship detained by the Philippines days after the sanctions took effect.

The United States expressed a willingness to support the Chinese request after Beijing said it would ensure the ships were in compliance with the U.N. sanctions regime, the U.S. official said.

01:33 LOCAL TIME 22:33 GMT