The US wants to board North Korean ships in international waters to enforce sanctions — here's why it might not make a difference

Business Insider | 11/12/2017 | Ben Brimelow
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North Korea has managed to build nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles while surviving some of the toughest sanctions ever imposed on a country.

This has led the US to think about increasing the scope of maritime interdictions of suspicious ships around the Korean Peninsula.

Success - Operations - Likelihood - Countries - China

The success of such operations will be limited, given the likelihood that important countries like China and Russia would not participate in or allow interdictions in international waters.

The US is reportedly talking about expanding crackdowns on North Korean ships, along with allies such as Australia, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea.

North - Korea - Transfers - Materials— - Ports

North Korea currently uses ship-to-ship transfers of sanctioned materials— sometimes in ports and sometimes in international waters — to evade sanctions from the international community. The UN Security Council has passed at least nine resolutions that imposed sanctions on North Korea, and Australia, the EU, Japan, South Korea, and the US have all placed additional sanctions on the country.

Russian and Chinese ships have recently been caught exchanging goods and resources in ship-to-ship transfers, as has a ship registered in the Maldives.

Efforts - Scope - Interceptions - Ships - Waters

The new efforts would expand the scope of the interceptions to possibly include searching and seizing North Korean ships in international waters. Currently, nations only have the authority to conduct these operations within their own waters, where North Korean ships that break sanctions rarely travel through.

"There is no doubt we all have to do more, short of direct military action, to show (North Korean leader) Kim Jong Un we mean business," a senior American official recently told Reuters.

Effectiveness - Operations - Richard - Weitz - Director

But the effectiveness of such operations is likely to be limited, Richard Weitz, the Director of the Center for Political-Military Analysis and the Hudson Institute, told Business...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Business Insider
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