Japanese coast guard officials say North Korea has banned ships from
sailing off its east coast for 16 days starting this Thursday.
guard officials say the North Korean government sent them an e-mail
warning that it will hold military drills off its eastern port of
Wonsan between Thursday and July 10.
The e-mail did not say what consequences ships would face if they violated the ban.
dates fall within a time frame mentioned last week by Japanese media
for a possible launch of a long-range missile toward Hawaii. The
message comes at a time of heightened tension between Pyongyang and the
A U.S. Navy destroyer, the USS John S.
McCain, is tracking a North Korean ship suspected of smuggling missiles
or related parts in violation of United Nations sanctions.
warned Tuesday that nations tracking North Korean ships should have
ample evidence and proper cause before seeking to check the cargo of
Speaking a regular press conference
Tuesday China's Foreign Ministry spokesman said that under the current
circumstances, all parties should refrain from taking actions that
could escalate the situation.
Reports citing unidentified
intelligence sources in South Korea say the vessel, the Kang Nam,
appears to be heading to Burma by way of Singapore.
The ship is the first to be monitored under a new U.N. Security Council resolution.
resolution, which was adopted earlier this month, authorizes U.N.
members to inspect North Korean cargo ships for illicit missile-related
technology. North Korea has said it would consider such inspections an
act of war.
The U.S. military has not indicated any plans to
search the vessel, which belongs to a fleet that U.S. officials say has
been used in the past to transport weapons.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.