Illegal shipping tops agenda as top diplomats meet in Vancouver for conference on North Korean sanction enforcement

Illegal shipping tops agenda as top diplomats meet in Vancouver for conference on North Korean sanction enforcement

Photo: AFP/KCNA Foreign ministers of various countries will meet in Vancouver, Canada today to address further efforts to apply pressure to Pyongyang. In particular, they will discuss intercepting secret oil shipments violating existing UN sanctions. The meeting—co-hosted by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his Canadian counterpart, Chrystia Freeland—comes after South Korea seized a

nk-kjuPhoto: AFP/KCNA

Foreign ministers of various countries will meet in Vancouver, Canada today to address further efforts to apply pressure to Pyongyang. In particular, they will discuss intercepting secret oil shipments violating existing UN sanctions.

The meeting—co-hosted by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his Canadian counterpart, Chrystia Freeland—comes after South Korea seized a Hong Kong-flagged ship late last year suspected of illegally transferring oil to North Korean ships at sea. It has been condemned by China as “Cold War thinking” which could ramp up tensions. An official list of attendees has not been confirmed but Japan and South Korea are expected to attend while China and Russia are expected to stay away.

Any decision to intercept North Korean vessels in international waters will likely draw a fiery response from leader Kim Jong Un as well as China—especially if done using warships. It would also contravene a UN Security Council resolution in December explicitly preventing such action. Therefore, expect ship seizures at port rather than warships intercepting shipping at sea to be adopted.

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