US Navy to intercept N. Korean vessel

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The USS John McCain has been monitoring the Kang Nam, a North Korean cargo ship that was given "special interest" designation after it took to the seas on Wednesday.

The destroyer plans on intercepting the vessel, according to published reports, initiating a delicate diplomatic confrontation that North Korea has warned could lead to war.

The ship will be the first to be intercepted since the United Nations passed a resolution last week banning North Korea from transporting any weapons other than small arms.

From The Guardian:

     

From The Guardian:

The UN sanctions only allow the US to hail a North Korean ship and demand to be allowed to conduct a search, but not forcibly board it. North Korea has said a forcible search would be regarded as an act of war.

[…]

If the North Koreans refuse to allow a US crew to search the ship, the US could order it into the nearest port. Failing that, the USS John McCain could closely follow the ship until it reaches a port. The US would then be entitled to demand, under the UN sanctions agreement, that that country inspect the ship.

Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, told reporters at the Pentagon yesterday: "Without going into specific details, clearly we intend to vigorously enforce the United Nations security council resolution."

This is a breaking news update. More soon.

— Stephen C. Webster

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