Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Wire: North Korean Ship Turns Around

Off the Wire

Off the Wire:

WASHINGTON, June 30, 2009 -- Newswire services this evening reported that U.S. officials said Tuesday that a North Korean ship has turned around and is headed back toward the north where it came from, after being tracked for more than a week by U.S. Navy vessels on suspicion of carrying illegal weapons.

The Associated Press said that the move keeps the U.S. and the rest of the international community guessing: Where is the Kang Nam going? Does its cargo include materials banned by a new U.N. anti-proliferation resolution?

The ship sailed from the North Korean port of Nampo on June 17 and is the first vessel monitored under U.N. sanctions that ban the regime from selling arms and nuclear-related material.

The U.S. Navy has been monitoring the vessel -- at times following it from a distance. The ship traveled south and southwest for more than a week; then, on Sunday, it turned around and headed back north, two U.S. officials said on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence.

Nearly two weeks after the ship left North Korea, officials said Tuesday they still don't know where it is going. But it was some 250 miles south of Hong Kong on Tuesday, one official said.

Though acknowledging all along that the Kang Nam's destination was unclear, some officials said last week that it could be going to Myanmar and that it was unclear whether it could reach there without stopping in another port to refuel, AP said.

This is a developing story.

(Report from newswire sources.)

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