U.N. Issues First-Ever Worldwide Port Ban on Four Ships Carrying North Korean Cargo

Kim Jong Un
Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP

The U.N. Security Council issued a worldwide port ban on Monday against four ships said to have carried prohibited North Korean cargo in defiance of sanctions. According to U.N. panel coordinator Hugh Griffiths, “this is the first time in U.N. history” that such an all-ports ban has been issued.

Griffiths identified the four ships as Petrel 8, Hao Fan 6, Tong San 2, and Jie Shun. Only the Tong San 2 is actually registered in North Korea. The Associated Press reports that U.N. monitors cited the four ships for “transporting prohibited goods” on October 5.

CBS News notes the ban was issued in “record time,” with “crucial support from China to enforce the move.” Further enforcement measures are said to be under consideration to restrict North Korea’s ability to evade sanctions.

According to Griffiths, North Korea is “continuing its attempts to export coal” in defiance of the U.N. Security Council. He suggested some member states “maybe have been taken advantage of by the tactics deployed by DPRK coal export entities,” which sounds like a bid to give North Korea’s customers a chance to halt their illicit purchases without losing too much face.

“We have as yet no evidence whatsoever of state complicity, but given the large quantities of money involved and the excess capacity of coal in the DPRK it probably comes as no surprise to you all that they’re seeking to make some money here,” he added.

Griffiths also cited the Mansudae Overseas Project Group of Companies, which exports North Korean workers to generate revenue for the North Korean regime.

“They’re doing an awful lot more than producing statues in Africa,” he said, alluding to the ostensible mission statement of the group as specialists in constructing statues and monuments.

AFP quotes a “source close to the matter” who says the four ships were found to be carrying banned coal, seafood, and iron ore.

North Korean diplomats attended the meeting where the port ban was decided upon but “did not speak.” AFP quotes North Korea’s ambassador to the United Nations, Ja Song-nam, vowing that North Korea will withstand all sanctions and continue down “the road of building socialist power by dint of the spirit of self-reliance and self-development.”

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