Burma Allows North Korean Cargo Ship in Distress to Enter Port
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Burma Allows North Korean Cargo Ship in Distress to Enter Port

By The Associated Press Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Burma permitted a North Korean cargo ship in distress to anchor at a port over the weekend, but found no cargo violating UN sanctions during an inspection of the vessel, the Foreign Ministry said.
In a statement sent to embassies, the ministry said authorities received a distress call Saturday from the vessel, identified as the M V Bong Hoafan, and allowed it to enter Thilawa port, 30 kilometers (20 miles) south of Rangoon, o­n "humanitarian grounds."
"Myanmar [Burma] authorities conducted an inspection o­n board the North Korean cargo vessel and found no suspicious material or military equipment," said the statement, obtained by The Associated Press o­n Tuesday.
The ship left Burma early Monday, the ministry said.
The statement did not say where the ship was headed or where it had been. Nor did it detail the nature of the distress call, saying o­nly that Burmese authorities supplied the ship with fuel and water and food for its 32-strong crew.
The UN Security Council has adopted a sanctions resolution to punish North Korea for its first-ever nuclear test, which was conducted last month. The sanctions forbid trade with North Korea in weapons and luxury goods.
Burma’s military junta, which seized power in 1988, has been accused of buying weapons from North Korea—a charge the government has dismissed as "speculative." Burma also denies that it ever sought North Korea's help in building a nuclear reactor.
Burma severed diplomatic relations with North Korea following a bombing blamed o­n North Korean commandos during a 1983 visit by then South Korean President Chun Doo-hwan.
Chun escaped unhurt but 21 people, including four South Korean ministers, were killed. Both countries have agreed to restore diplomatic relations, but no timeframe has been set.

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