North Korea has set a ship to sail, even though U.N. sanctions threatened that all vessels into and out of North Korea will be monitored by the world. So the U.S. has ships in the area and we are indeed “monitoring.” So what’s next? Are they calling the U.N.’s bluff? See updates below.
Reports are that we are not saying what Kang Nam, which has now reached international waters, is carrying. What could we do anyway? What if we know it is exporting weapons, missile parts and nuclear materials? Would we stop them? Would we board them? Would we arrest them on the high seas? Would we fire on them?
This might answer the question:
Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, …stressed the U.N. resolution would allow the U.S. Navy to search a ship only with its flag country’s consent.
So no, we wouldn’t search because North Korea wouldn’t allow it. What can we do but “monitor?” North Korea has said they will attack if we try to stop their cargo. I hope I’m proven wrong, but…I think they’ve called our bluff.
UPDATE: 6-19-09, 10:30 am CDT: Fox News reports that the USS John McCain, a Navy destroyer, is positioning to “intercept” the North Korean ship, Kang Nam, as soon as it leaves the vicinity off the coast of China.
North Korea has said that any attempt to board its ships would be viewed as an act of war and promised “100 – or – 1000-fold retaliation if provoked.
A U.N. resolution does not allow the boarding of a country-flagged ship without that country’s permission, which is unlikely in this case. Here’s another possibility:
If there is cause to pursue the ship, sources told FOX News the U.S. military would instead likely follow the slow-moving vessel until it goes into port to refuel.
At that point, sources said, the U.S. military could request that the host country not provide fuel to the ship.
One U.S. official said that the U.S. military could be waiting for the ship to distance itself from China before confronting it, to avoid agitating the Chinese.
More when available. In the meantime, praying for the safety of those aboard the USS John McCain is a good idea.