Did Foreign Pressure Make Ship Turn Back?
covering burma and southeast asia
Saturday, May 25, 2024

Did Foreign Pressure Make Ship Turn Back?

By LALIT K JHA Thursday, July 9, 2009


WASHINGTON — Pressure from Burma’s key neighbors including India, China and members countries from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) could have persuaded the military junta not to be associated with North Korean nuclear activities at this point of time. The controversial North Korean ship heading for Burma may have been turned around as a result.

The Kang Nam I cargo ship docked at Rangoon's Thilawa port on May 21, 2007. (Photo: Getty Images)
“In the specific instance with Burma, that too could have played a role. But I don't know that it was—that that was the definitive reason,” a senior State Department official said in background briefing on interagency delegation meetings in China and Malaysia related to enforcing UN Security Council sanctions against North Korea on Wednesday.

Throughout the trip, the US interagency team made the point that Burma was a destination in the past for North Korea.

“That this was a particularly difficult issue given Burma's own isolation and own problems with the international community, but that this was a focus for Asean, for the United States, for China, for India, for other countries with some sort of influence to persuade Burma not to participate in any way in North Korea's illegal activities,” the official said.

Such a statement led many to interpret that because of diplomatic pressure from neighboring countries on Burma, the ship was turned back, and that the Burmese realized that it would not be an appropriate moment to accept that ship.

However, the official clarified that this was not the exact case. “I don't think—I think that's taking it one step beyond where I want to go with it,” he said.

“What I do want to say is that a combination of sharing information with many of the countries in the region about their obligations and our collective obligations to inspect, to warn ships, to what maritimers call hail and query, that all of those things combined, convinced or played a role perhaps in convincing the North Koreans to turn the ship around,” the official said.

“Asean, as a whole, and the individual countries have all pledged their commitment to the resolutions, and therefore, by extension, to preventing the use of Burma or any other country as a conduit for North Korea's illegal activities,” the official said.

The Kang Nam I, a North Korean ship tracked by the US Navy, is believed to have entered the port of Nampo on North Korea's western coast late Monday. Speculation has included the possibility the Kang Nam 1 was carrying weapons, possibly to Burma. The ship has been suspected of transporting banned goods to the military-ruled country in the past.

The UN Security Council issued a condemnation of North Korea's recent missile tests after a closed meeting Monday in New York. According to the Japanese UN Ambassador, Yukio Takasu, Japan has asked all Southeast Asian nations, except junta-ruled Burma, to enforce the UN's North Korea resolutions.

Meanwhile, Malaysia pledged to work with the United States to block North Korea from using the nation's banks to fund any weapons deals. The assurance came as Philip Goldberg, a US envoy in charge of coordinating the implementation of sanctions against Pyongyang, met with Malaysian officials.

South Korean media have reported that North Korea sought payment through a bank in Malaysia for the suspected shipment of weapons to Burma via the Kang Nam I.

US Treasury Undersecretary Stuart Levey has traveled to China and Hong Kong this week to gain support for US efforts to keep North Korea from using banks and businesses to buy and sell missile and nuclear technology. He arrived Monday and was scheduled to meet with government officials and private sector executives Wednesday through Friday.

On June 30, the US imposed sanctions and froze the US assets of Namchongang Trading Corp (NCG) and Iran-based Hong Kong Electronics in an attempt to choke off the firms’ funds. The two companies are charged with being at the center of Pyongyang's attempts to export its nuclear and long-range missile technologies, according to US officials.

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Moe Aung Wrote:

"If countries all over the world work together."

That'll be the day! They say we are born equal but some are more equal than others.

Politics = people cannot agree on the priorities and choices to be set and made within their own country or even in their own locality. You need just two people to have personal politics, domestic or office/work politics.

Reality check: The UN and related institutions are the best man can come up with so far. Like democracy, it's not perfect, but just about workable. A lot of the time they just agree to disagree or make a compromise. Otherwise man resorts to violence and still does.

Realistically, the Burmese must simply rely on themselves to be rid of this military dictatorship.

BB Wrote:
If countries all over the world work together at state level,regional level and international level, it is not difficult to prevent atrocities. It is difficult only when some countries are not cooperating for their own benefit.
Therefore, it is time not to bring the junta of Myanmar to the ICC but also for the UN to think to get out the permanent countries or to change them to temporary which are using their veto power for their own benefit and making most of the people in Myanmar starve,infectious, neglected and uneducated.

maungnaylin [california] Wrote:
Burma has made a good decision.

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