FILE - In this Oct. 10, 2010 file photo Kim Jong Un, right, along with his father and North Korea leader Kim Jong Il, left, attends during a massive military parade marking the 65th anniversary of the ruling Workers' Party in Pyongyang, North Korea. South Korea's Yonhap News Agency is reporting that the son and heir apparent of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il is visiting China. The report says Kim Jong Un arrived in the city of Tumen in northeast China on Friday, May 20, 2011. (AP Photo/Kyodo News) JAPAN OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT, NO LICENSING IN CHINA, HONG KONG, JAPAN, SOUTH KOREA AND FRANCE (AP)

U.S. turns back North Korea ship bound for Myanmar

Two weeks ago, the Navy stopped a vessel suspected of carrying missile technology disallowed under U.N. sanctions

Lou Kesten
June 13, 2011 4:12PM (UTC)

The U.S. Navy forced a North Korean ship on its way to Myanmar to return home after a standoff two weeks ago, The New York Times reported Sunday.

The Times said the U.S. suspected the North Korean cargo vessel, the M/V Light, was carrying missile technology to Myanmar. The Navy destroyer McCampbell was sent to track its movement.


On May 26, the Times reported, the McCampbell caught up with the ship and asked to board it. The North Koreans refused, and since the U.S. did not want to force its way aboard, it could not confirm whether its suspicions were true.

Nonetheless, a few days after the Navy approached it, the North Korean vessel stopped well short of Myanmar and returned to its home port.

A White House official contacted Sunday by The Associated Press confirmed the substance of the Times story. The official, who was not authorized to discuss the incident, spoke on condition of anonymity.


Joseph Yun, the United States' deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, visited Myanmar last month and expressed concerns about its military relationship with North Korea.

A U.N. Security Council resolution bans all North Korean arms exports, authorizes member states to inspect North Korean sea, air and land cargo, and requires them to seize and destroy any goods transported in violation of the sanctions.

Arms experts say Myanmar, which faces an arms embargo from many Western countries, gets weaponry from Pyongyang. Some analysts have suggested North Korea shares missile and nuclear technology with Myanmar, though the evidence is thin.

Lou Kesten

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