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US seeks further sanctions targeting North Korea

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The United States has proposed a list of entities to be blacklisted under UN sanctions on North Korea.

The United States has proposed a list of entities to be blacklisted under United Nations sanctions on North Korea in a move "aimed at shutting down North Korea's maritime smuggling activities to obtain oil and sell coal."

It coincides with the US imposing its largest package of unilateral sanctions against North Korea on Friday, intensifying pressure on Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons and missile programmes.

"We are ramping up the pressure on the North Korean regime, and we're going to use every tool at our disposal, including working with our allies and through the UN, to increase the pressure until North Korea reverses course," US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said in a statement.

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President Donald Trump added on Friday that the US would move to "phase two" if sanctions against North Korea did not work, although he did not specify what that would mean.

"I don't think I'm going to exactly play that card. But we'll have to see. If the sanctions don't work, we'll have to go phase two," Trump said.

"Phase two may be a very rough thing, may be very, very unfortunate for the world. But hopefully the sanctions will work."

The UN Security Council has unanimously boosted sanctions on North Korea since 2006 in a bid to choke off funding for Pyongyang's nuclear and ballistic missile programs, banning exports including coal, iron, lead, textiles and seafood, and capping imports of crude oil and refined petroleum products.

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The US did not give further details of how many or what entities it had proposed to be blacklisted.

In October the US proposed eight ships for UN designation for smuggling banned cargo from North Korea.

The UN committee agreed to ban four ships from ports globally, while Washington postponed a bid to blacklist the remaining four.

In December the US proposed 10 ships for blacklisting, the committee agreed to the designated four, while diplomats said China objected listing the remaining six.

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