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UN votes on mandatory North Korea cargo inspections

UN votes on mandatory North Korea cargo inspections
The UN Security Council today votes to impose mandatory inspections of any cargo vessel leaving or entering the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

The agreement would require all UN member states to inspect cargoes leaving from or heading to North Korea. As well as searching for concealed weapons shipments, contraband under the new agreement includes exports of coal, iron, iron ore, gold, titanium and rare earth minerals from the country, the proceeds from which, the US believes, fund the DPRK's missile programme. Imports of aviation fuel, including rocket fuel, would also be banned.

The vote was originally to take place yesterday, but was blocked for 24 hours by Russia after its council members asked for more time to read the text.

The move, part of a new round of sanctions against the nation in response to recent nuclear test activity, affects some 114 vessels known to be operating under the North Korean flag. One such vessel, Chong Chon Gang, pictured, was detained in Panama in August 2013 after it was found to be carrying a shipment of two anti-air defence systems, missile components, two MiG-21 aircraft and 15 Russian-built aircraft engines, hidden in a cargo of sugar from Cuba. 

"Today in response to the DPRK’s recent nuclear test and subsequent proscribed ballistic missile launch, the US tabled a draft resolution that if adopted… would represent the strongest sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council in more than two decades,” said US United Nations ambassador Samantha Power. “All cargo going in or out of the DPRK would be subjected to mandatory inspection… suspicious vessels carrying illicit items would be denied access to ports.”