MANILA — The Philippines will become the first country to enforce tough new United Nations sanctions on North Korea when it begins formal procedures on Monday to impound a cargo vessel linked to the reclusive nation, a government spokesman said on Sunday.
The Jin Teng, which is suspected of being a North Korean ship, arrived Thursday at Subic Bay, a commercial port about 50 miles northwest of Manila. It will be impounded, its crew will be deported, and it will most likely be inspected by a team from the United Nations, said Charles Jose, a spokesman for the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs.
The vessel is registered and flagged under multiple countries, but it is one of 31 listed as being owned by North Korea, Philippine officials said, and therefore subject to seizure under the new sanctions. The sanctions are a result of a United Nations Security Council resolution that was passed Wednesday after a North Korean nuclear test on Jan. 6 and a long-range rocket test on Feb. 7.
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One component of the new sanctions requires countries to inspect all cargo passing through their territory en route to or from North Korea. Inspections previously had been required only if there was reasonable suspicion of contraband aboard.
“The world is concerned over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, and as a member of the U.N., the Philippines has to do its part to enforce the sanctions,” Manuel L. Quezon III, a member of the president’s communications team, said on a government-run radio station on Saturday.
The 4,355-ton vessel had a crew of 21 North Korean citizens and was in the Philippines to unload a shipment of agricultural byproducts often used as livestock feed. The Philippine Coast Guard searched the vessel on Friday and found no prohibited items. Only minor safety violations, including missing fire hoses and exposed wiring, were discovered.