North Korea: UN sanctions on shipping 'inexcusable'

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — Searches of North Korean ships under new U.N. sanctions that were imposed in response to Pyongyang's latest nuclear test are inexcusable and North Korea won't tolerate them, a North Korean maritime official said in an interview with Associated Press Television News.

Some of the toughest measures in the sanctions target North Korea's shipping network, which has long been under international scrutiny for the possible movement of weapons and other equipment banned by previous U.N. resolutions.

"The U.N. Security Council should ensure the peace and security of the world, but it has abandoned its own mission and duty and it's violently trampled on international justice and impartiality," Nam Hyon Il, of North Korea's Maritime Administration, which oversees the country's shipping industry, said in an interview with APTN in Pyongyang on Thursday.

Nam called the sanctions "an infringement of maritime trade activities of a sovereign state, which is inexcusable."

North Korea insists it will not accept any of the U.N. sanctions against it, including the latest round of restrictions announced in response to its nuclear test in January and subsequent rocket launch.

Inside North Korea, authorities and media always describe the sanctions as if they were forced upon on the U.N. by the United States. There is no acknowledgement of the role and opinions of China, North Korea's main supporter, in formulating sanctions against Pyongyang.

The new round of sanctions say every member state should inspect the cargo of any North Korean vessel that comes into port, and highlight details of North Korean shipping companies and the names of ships that are specifically targeted.

Soon after the sanctions were announced, a North Korean ship, the Jin Teng, was stopped by Philippine authorities. It was inspected and later released.

Each round of sanctions against North Korea brings new scrutiny and renewed debate about whether the measures really have an effect on holding back Pyongyang's progress in the development of nuclear and ballistic missile technology.

No banned goods have been found on any North Korean ships since the new sanctions took effect.

The last time that happened was in 2013, when a North Korean ship called the Chong Chon Gang was stopped in Panama after an inspection found military equipment underneath bags of sugar.