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22 June 2009

Reports: N Korean ship carrying missiles bound for Myanmar

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A North Korean ship suspected of carrying missiles and related parts was headed toward Myanmar, and was being tailed by a US Navy destroyer.

South Korea's YTN news network, , citing an unidentified intelligence source in South Korea, reported a North Korean cargo ship, the Kang Nam, carrying missiles and related parts, is expected to travel to Myanmar via Singapore, in what could be the first test of new UN sanctions against the North over its recent nuclear test.

The sanctions _ punishment for an underground nuclear test North Korea conducted May 25 _ firm up an earlier arms embargo against North Korea and authorise ship searches in an attempt to thwart the regime's nuclear and ballistic missile ambitions.

Myanmar's military government, which faces an arms embargo from the United States and the European Union, reportedly has bought weapons from the North in the past.

Two US officials said Thursday that the US military had begun tracking the ship, which left a North Korean port on Wednesday.

One official said it was uncertain what the Kang Nam was carrying but that it had been involved in weapons proliferation before. Both spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss intelligence.

On Monday, North Korea's main Rodong Sinmun newspaper called it "nonsense" to say the country is a threat to the US, and instead claimed Washington was the one threatening the North. The paper also warned in a commentary that the country is prepared to strike back if attacked.


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