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CHINA BLOCKS U.N. REPORT ON NORTH KOREA

Associated Press

UNITED NATIONS - China blocked the release of a report by U.N. experts accusing North Korea of violating U.N. sanctions that ban the export and import of ballistic missile and nuclear-related items as well as conventional arms and luxury goods.

China's U.N. Ambassador Li Baodong told reporters after a closed-door meeting of the Security Council to discuss implementation of two rounds of sanctions against the North that Beijing is "still studying that report."

The report by the seven independent experts appointed by Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon to monitor implementation of sanctions was sent to the 15 Security Council members for their approval Tuesday. Diplomats said China was the only country that objected to its immediate release.

The panel's first report, in May 2010, was also held up by China, which has close ties to North Korea. It was finally released in November after Beijing dropped its objections.

The report, obtained Monday by the Associated Press, said North Korea remains "actively engaged" in exporting ballistic missiles, components and technology to numerous customers in the Middle East and South Asia in violation of U.N. sanctions.

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