Tuesday, June 23, 2009

North Korean Ship Carrying Illicit Arms

By HYUNG-JIN KIM, Associated Press Writer Hyung-jin Kim, Associated Press Writer –

SEOUL, South Korea – An American destroyer tailed a North Korean ship Tuesday as it sailed along China's coast, U.S. officials said, amid concerns the vessel is carrying illicit arms destined for Myanmar.

The sailing sets up the first test of a new U.N. Security Council resolution that authorizes member states to inspect North Korean vessels suspected of carrying banned weapons or materials. The sanctions are punishment for an underground nuclear test the North carried out last month in defiance of past resolutions.

A U.S. official said last week that the American destroyer has no orders to intercept the ship, but experts say the vessel will need to stop to refuel soon. The resolution prohibits member states from providing such services to ships accused of bearing banned goods.

Nearby Singapore — the world's largest refueling hub — says it will "act appropriately" if the ship docks at its port with suspicious goods on board.

The North Korean-flagged Kang Nam left the port of Nampo last Wednesday, with the U.S. destroyer following it. Two Pentagon officials described a relay operation in which the destroyer USS John S. McCain would hand over surveillance of the ship to the destroyer USS McCampbell. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence.


No comments: