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By Michelle Nichols
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United States has proposed that the United Nations Security Council blacklist 10 ships for transporting banned items from North Korea, according to documents seen by Reuters on Tuesday.
The vessels are accused of "conducting illegal ship-to-ship transfers of refined petroleum products to North Korean vessels or illegally transporting North Korean coal to other countries for exports," the United States said in its proposal.
If none of the 15 members of the Security Council's North Korea sanctions committee object to the ships being designated by Thursday afternoon, the U.S. proposal will be approved.
Countries are required to ban blacklisted ships from entering their ports. Four ships were designated for carrying coal from North Korea by the council's North Korea sanctions committee in October.
North Korea is under a U.N. arms embargo and the Security Council has banned trade in exports such as coal, textiles, seafood, iron and other minerals to choke funding for Pyongyang's missile and nuclear programs.
In September, the council put a cap of 2 million barrels a year on refined petroleum products exports to North Korea.
The ships proposed to be blacklisted are: Xin Sheng Hai (flag unknown); Hong-Kong-flagged Lighthouse Winmore; Togo-flagged Yu Yuan; Panama-flagged Glory Hope 1 (also known as Orient Shenyu), Kai Xiang, and Billions No. 18; and North Korean-flagged Ul Ji Bong 6, Rung Ra 2, Rye Song Gang 1, and Sam Jong 2.
Reclusive North Korea has boasted of developing a missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and reaching the mainland United States in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions and international condemnation.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Friday urged North Korea to carry out a "sustained cessation" of weapons testing to allow the two countries to hold talks. He did not specify how long the lull should last.
North Korea conducted missile tests at a steady pace since April, then paused in September after firing a rocket that passed over Japan's Hokkaido island. But it renewed tests in November when it fired a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile, which flew higher and further than previous tests.
(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Additional reporting by Jonathan Saul in London; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and James Dalgleish)