7 Countries Join US on North Korea Mission

The plan: Stop anyone violating UN sanctions
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 15, 2018 10:15 AM CDT
US to 7 Countries: Let's Hunt Smugglers
In this Friday, Dec. 29, 2017, file photo, the Lighthouse Winmore, a Hong Kong-flagged ship, is seen in waters off Yeosu, South Korea.   (Hyung Min-woo/Yonhap via AP, File)

Smugglers, watch out: Washington is forming an international coalition to better spot ships sneaking fuel into North Korea against UN sanctions, the Wall Street Journal reports. More than 50 people from the allied nations—including Japan, South Korea, Britain, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and a member from France—will be hosted on the USS Blue Ridge as their countries provide warships and surveillance aircraft. Officials say there will be more "bridge-to-bridge" warnings from allied ships to smugglers and a zero-tolerance policy against those who plead ignorance, but more aggressive tactics like ship-boardings aren't necessarily in the cards.

Meanwhile, Washington is calling for a UN Security Council meeting Monday to crack down on countries trying "to undermine and obstruct" North Korea sanctions, the AP reports. No violator-nations were named, but US Ambassador Nikki Haley said Thursday that Russia had pressured UN experts to revise a report that implicates "Russian actors." According to Haley, the original report mentions "a massive increase in illicit ship-to-ship transfers of petroleum products" to North Korea despite UN sanctions. A summary of the report, obtained by the AP in August, says Pyongyang is still conducting its nuclear and missile programs while defying financial sanctions and an arms embargo. (More North Korea stories.)

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