SEOUL — A North Korean cargo ship was reportedly steaming toward Myanmar on Sunday even as it was shadowed by a U.S. Navy destroyer, posing the first test of how far the United States and its allies will go to stop the North’s suspected arms trade under a new United Nations resolution.
The United States began tracking the 2,000-ton Kang Nam after it left Nampo, a port near Pyongyang, on Wednesday. U.S. officials have declined to say where the ship was headed and what it might be carrying but said it was “a subject of interest.”
Fox News quoted a senior U.S. military source as saying the U.S. Navy destroyer John S. McCain was positioning itself in case it gets orders to intercept. North Korea has already said it would consider interception an “act of war” and act accordingly.
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YTN, a news cable channel in South Korea, reported on Sunday that the ship was headed for Myanmar, a country long suspected of buying North Korean arms and providing transit services for North Korean vessels engaged in illicit trade.
Quoting an unidentified intelligence source, YTN said that the U.S. authorities suspected the ship of carrying missiles or related parts.