Hawaii On High Alert As U.S. Military Tracks Possible N. Korea War Ship

The U.S. military is tracking a ship from North Korea that may be carrying illicit weapons, the first vessel monitored under tougher new United Nations rules meant to rein in and punish the communist government following a nuclear test, officials said Thursday.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he has ordered additional protections for Hawaii just in case North Korea launches a long-range missile over the Pacific Ocean.

The suspect ship could become a test case for interception of the North’s ships at sea, something the North has said it would consider an act of war.

Officials said the U.S. is monitoring the voyage of the North Korean-flagged Kang Nam, which left port in North Korea on Wednesday. On Thursday, it was traveling in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of China, two officials said on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence.

What the Kang Nam was carrying was not known, but the ship has been involved in weapons proliferation, one of the officials said.

The ship is among a group that is watched regularly but is the only one believed to have cargo that could potentially violate the U.N. resolution, the official said.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen did not specifically confirm that the U.S. was monitoring the ship when he was asked about it at a Pentagon news conference Thursday.

“We intend to vigorously enforce the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1874 to include options, to include, certainly, hail and query,” Mullen said. “If a vessel like this is queried and doesn’t allow a permissive search,” he noted, it can be directed into port.

The Security Council resolution calls on all 192 U.N. member states to inspect vessels on the high seas “if they have information that provides reasonable grounds to believe that the cargo” contains banned weapons or material to make them, and if approval is given by the country whose flag the ship sails under.

If the country refuses to give approval, it must direct the vessel “to an appropriate and convenient port for the required inspection by the local authorities.”

The resolution does not authorize the use of force. But if a country refuses to order a vessel to a port for inspection, it would be in violation of the resolution and the country licensing the vessel would face possible sanctions by the Security Council.

Gates, speaking at the same news conference, said the Pentagon is concerned about the possibility of a North Korean missile launch “in the direction of Hawaii.”

Gates told reporters at the Pentagon he has sent the military’s ground-based mobile missile system to Hawaii, and positioned a radar system nearby. The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system is designed to shoot down ballistic missiles in their last stage of flight.

“We are in a good position, should it become necessary, to protect Americans and American territory,” Gates said.

A Japanese newspaper reported Thursday that North Korea might fire its most advanced ballistic missile toward Hawaii around the Fourth of July holiday.

A new missile launch — though not expected to reach U.S. territory — would be a brazen slap in the face of the international community, which punished North Korea with new U.N. sanctions for conducting a second nuclear test on May 25 in defiance of a U.N. ban.

North Korea spurned the U.N. Security Council resolution with threats of war and pledges to expand its nuclear bomb-making program.

The missile now being readied in the North is believed to be a Taepodong-2 with a range of up to 4,000 miles and would be launched from North Korea’s Dongchang-ni site on the northwestern coast, the Yomiuri newspaper said. It cited an analysis by Japan’s Defense Ministry and intelligence gathered by U.S. reconnaissance satellites.  Anne Gearan and Pauline Jelinek for the Associated Press.  For more news and information click the link below for Yahoo! News.

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Officials: US tracking suspicious ship from NKorea – Yahoo! News.

Posted by Man In The Middle on Jun 18th, 2009 and filed under Latest News, Military, News, Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response by filling following comment form or trackback to this entry from your site

3 Responses for “Hawaii On High Alert As U.S. Military Tracks Possible N. Korea War Ship”

  1. Try Peace says:

    Make anyman starved for 3 days and if he doesn’t turn criminal then he’s either dead or GOD who doesn’t need to eat.

    This is getting ridiculous. Why US can’t take the peace route for change. No matter who’s in the power, we can’t

    seem to find peace. Before Bush call them “Axis of Evil” for Iran and North Korea, I believe KimJungIL was looking

    for economic means for his people following China’s economic model; this made the free trade zone in North Korea

    come true.

    Why not try peace? Let’s remove all the restrictions to North Korea and see if North Korea still willing to risk

    everything by going Nuclear. Unless Obama is trying to save US Auto industry by creating war to destroy Korea and

    Japan, we should leave them alone; talk about Killing the Competition. Economic prosperity comes under the wings of

    peace. I din’t vote for Obama to continue this un-peaeful resolution; I thought we’ll be in different situation

    then that ignorant B*sh&D*ck fu*king up US.

    It will be lucky if their ICBM fire back on them or fall back to it’s own land. They don’t have technology nor gut

    enough to mess with US. Old Kim is trying to sit baby Kim on throne at the same time get some more change and

    attention. These aggresions are shows for his own people and attention getter for outside.

    If we continue to push the poor and dying of hunger by millions due to all the blockade that’s been put on the North

    Korea, they will make a choice. Either dying by hunger and cold or throw everything they got before getting

    destroyed; no one knows what this would limit to. And choice is clear. In Korea, there’s proverb, “If you step on

    a worm then it will twitch”.

  2. Al says:

    Are you serious TryPeace?
    It should be quite obvious that N. Korea has no intention of talking to the U.S. They’re pissed as hell and while I’m sure everyone would absolutely love for peace talks to actually work, they haven’t been. The U.S. been asking them to go to the 6 party peace talks, and they’ve been refusing.
    If the U.S. got rid of the sanctions (Which would need approval from other countries) that will only further N. Korea’s resources for waging war against the U.S. which would give them more leverage to do what they want. You really think that if given the resources and power they wouldn’t use it to threaten and bend the U.S. to their will? Of course they would, they hate and fear America simultaneously.
    Besides that, if this plan of yours didn’t work (which I seriously doubt it would) and North Korea continued all Nuclear programs against America, what kind of example do you think that would set for other countries? They would think that America is even weaker than what it is already perceived to be.
    The U.S. has been losing it’s grip as a world super power, (only sped up with breath taking speed by the new President) and if the U.S. was to simply back down, America would be made a mockery of, and not only that but all the principles that make Americans “Americans” would be wiped out.
    America has already been losing it’s principles and morals of which it was founded on, but really, how about trying to keep just a semblance of it?
    The United States of America was once a miraculous country blessed by God that was of and for the people, and I wonder just what has happened to that?
    But I digress.

    To simply sum things up, peace talks have not been working. The U.S. and the U.N. needs to toughen up on North Korea. Period.

  3. Traci says:

    I DID NOT VOTE FOR OBAMA!!!!! MCCAIN WOULD HAVE ALREADY HAD THIS SITUATION HANDLED, SOMETIME YOU NEED WAR TO HAVE PEACE….

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