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Showdown on Pacific: U.S. tracking North ship

Joong Ang Daily
Friday, June 19, 2009

As the Obama administration tries to ensure that the latest United Nations Security Council resolution is enforced, the U.S. Navy yesterday was tracking a North Korean vessel suspected of carrying weapons materials, U.S. government officials said.

While Fox News reported that the ship called the Kang Nam left a North Korean port Wednesday and appeared to be heading toward Singapore, CNN said the ship was in the Pacific. Fox and CNN both reported that the ship, which could be carrying missile parts or nuclear materials, flew the North Korean flag. A senior official told Fox News, “It is believed to be ‘of interest.’”

Fox and CNN also said, citing officials, that the Kang Nam is “a repeat offender.” It was reportedly detained in October 2006 by Hong Kong authorities after North Korea’s first nuclear test.



The Kang Nam is the first North Korean ship to be identified as suspect since the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1874 last week which “calls upon” member nations to inspect cargo to and from North Korea suspected of containing restricted materials.

Member states could also inspect vessels on the high seas with the consent of the flag nation. Without such consent, the ship must be directed to an “appropriate and convenient” port for the required inspection. Materials may be seized and disposed of if necessary, but the resolution doesn’t authorize the use of military force.

Citing unnamed sources, Fox News reported that the U.S. military would likely follow the vessel until it pulls into a port to refuel. The U.S. could then request that the host country not supply fuel. The latest UN Security Council resolution orders members not to provide fuel or other supplies to suspect North Korean ships “if they have information that provides reasonable grounds to believe” the ships are carrying banned items.

Full story here. [2]