US Steps Up Navy Challenges Against N. Korea

Obama orders military to stop rogue state's ships for inspection
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 16, 2009 6:15 AM CDT
Tens of thousands of North Koreans rallied in Pyongyang yesterday to condemn the UN rebuke of the country's latest nuclear test amid concern the communist regime could conduct another one.    (AP Photo/Korean Central News Agency via Korea News Service)
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(Newser) – The Obama administration will instruct the Navy to attempt to inspect North Korean ships suspected of carrying arms or nuclear technology—but it will stop short of boarding them by force. The new effort to track North Korean ships is a component of America's "vigorous enforcement" of a UN Security Council resolution in the wake of the country's most recent nuclear test. It's the most aggressive approach on North Korea taken in years, reports the New York Times.

Pyongyang had warned that any forced inspection of its naval fleet would be tantamount to an act of war, and the Obama team's new plans do not breach that line. But the Navy will be ordered to report any ship that refuses inspection to the Security Council. Administration officials say they're hopeful that China will also help the effort. "China would not have signed on to this resolution unless they intended to enforce it," said one official.