U.N. Panel Said to Conclude North Korean Vessel Violated Sanctions

Global Security Newswire Staff
Feb. 21, 2014, 8:04 a.m.

The U.N. Se­cur­ity Coun­cil on Thursday re­portedly de­term­ined that a Cuban-North Korea arms deal, dis­covered in 2012, vi­ol­ated sanc­tions on Py­ongy­ang.

Uniden­ti­fied U.N. in­siders told KBS World the 15-mem­ber U.N. body reached agree­ment on the weapons trans­gres­sion after read­ing a re­port pro­duced by a U.N pan­el with over­sight on North Korean sanc­tions.

The Chong Chon Gang was in­ter­dicted last sum­mer by au­thor­it­ies as it at­temp­ted to pass through the Panama Canal. A search of the North Korean cargo freight­er’s hold turned up a large cache of So­viet-era weaponry. Cuba quickly claimed own­er­ship of the arms, which in­cluded two MiG jets, anti-air­craft mis­sile sys­tems and oth­er as­sor­ted con­ven­tion­al weaponry.

Havana as­ser­ted the weapons were be­ing shipped to the North for re­fur­bish­ment, after which they were to be sent back to Cuba. However, in­de­pend­ent ana­lysts con­cluded that much of the weaponry was in func­tion­ing con­di­tion and not in need of re­pair.

It is not yet known what, if any, pun­ish­ment the Se­cur­ity Coun­cil could im­pose on Py­ongy­ang and Havana .

Mean­while, Chinese Pres­id­ent Xi Jin­ping on Fri­day pledged his gov­ern­ment would work to achieve the elim­in­a­tion of atom­ic arms in North Korea, the Yon­hap News Agency re­por­ted.

“The de­nuc­lear­iz­a­tion of the Korean Pen­in­sula is the ba­sic stance of China to­wards the Korean Pen­in­sula,” Xi said dur­ing a meet­ing with vis­it­ing South Korean law­makers. “We will make ef­forts to real­ize it.”

China in re­cent days has shown re­newed vig­or for re­start­ing the moribund re­gion­al talks aimed at achiev­ing a per­man­ent shut­down of Py­ongy­ang’s nuc­le­ar-weapons work.

U.S. Sec­ret­ary of State John Kerry in a vis­it last week to Beijing ex­changed “spe­cif­ic” ideas for re-launch­ing the six-party talks that en­com­pass China, Ja­pan, the two Koreas, Rus­sia and the United States. Dir­ectly fol­low­ing Kerry’s vis­it, Chinese Vice For­eign Min­is­ter Liu Zhen­min traveled to Py­ongy­ang for meet­ings with North Korea of­fi­cials. Im­me­di­ately af­ter­wards, he flew to South Korea for more meet­ings on the North Korea nuc­le­ar im­passe.

A South Korean For­eign Min­istry of­fi­cial said the Fri­day meet­ing between Liu and Deputy For­eign Min­is­ter Lee Ky­ung-soo pro­duced an un­der­stand­ing to deep­en bi­lat­er­al co­ordin­a­tion on achiev­ing North Korean de­nuc­lear­iz­a­tion, Yon­hap sep­ar­ately re­por­ted.

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