Burma 'Ready to Search N.Korean Ship'

      July 01, 2009 07:31

      Rangoon says it will inspect the North Korean cargo ship Kangnam, which is suspected of heading to Burma carrying weapons-related materials, a news report said Tuesday. The Kangnam is being trailed by the missile destroyer USS John McCain.

      Radio Free Asia on Tuesday said the Burmese junta has pledged to inspect the Kangnam and not to allow the North Korean ship to enter any Burmese port if it is carrying items banned by the UN.

      Experts speculate that Burma was acting under international pressure. Inspection of North Korean vessels by individual states is encouraged by Clause 11 of the UN Security Council Resolution 1874, which was passed on June 12. But the resolution merely "calls upon" member states to inspect suspicious vessels, leaving the decision up to Burma. Rangoon may have been swayed by China and Russia, which both support the resolution, while South Korea and Japan are two major trading partners, RFA quoted unnamed observers as speculating.

      Burmese authorities would be obliged to seize and dispose of any weapons and weapons-related materials they found under Clause 14 of the resolution.

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