Gov’t: Cambodia Supports N Korea Sanctions

Cambodia is willing to adhere to a UN Security Council resolution on sanc­tions against North Korea followings last week’s nuclear test by the secretive communist state, government spokesman Khieu Kanha­rith said Tuesday.

However, Cambodia may re­quire as­sistance if called on to enforce the re­solution, which bans arms-related ship­ments and authorizes cargo in­spec­tions of North Ko­rean ships, he said. “We support this resolution but you know well we don’t have much com­­mercial re­lations with North Ko­­rea,” Khieu Kanharith said. “Up to now, I think we’ll comply with the resolution.”

Following Pyongyang’s Oct 9 an­nouncement that it had tested a nu­clear weapon, the UN Security Coun­cil voted unanimously Satur­day to impose a ban on shipments of military hardware and items related to the production of wea­pons of mass destruction, as well as luxury goods.

Under the resolution, all UN mem­ber states are also authorized, but not specifically required, to in­spect cargo shipments to and from North Korea. China began inspecting trucks crossing the North Ko­rean border Tuesday but has said it will not search ships at sea.

“We are confident Cambodia will live up to its responsibilities,” the US Embassy said in a statement Tues­day. “There are many de­tails yet to be worked out concerning the implementation of the re­solution. Therefore it is too early to com­ment on Cambodia’s potential role in enforcing the resolution.”

In a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency, the North Korean government called the sanctions “a declaration of war.”

A man answering a telephone num­ber assigned to a North Ko­rean Embassy official in Phnom Penh said no one was available to comment on the matter.

The value of imports from North Korea to Cambodia in 2005 was only $5,000, said Thon Virak, deputy director of the Commerce Min­i­stry’s foreign trade department.

Hout Sakor, a customs officer in charge of inspection at the Si­ha­nouk­ville Autonomous Port, said he could not recall having seen goods from North Korea enter or leave the country and said that most goods arriving from the Ko­rean pen­insula were labeled only “Ko­rea.” But this is understood to mean South Korea, he said.

Defense Minister Tea Banh said that before entering Cam­bo­dian waters, ships going to and from North Korea would have to pass through the territorial waters of other countries also affected by the UN resolution, meaning Cam­bo­dia’s potential responsibility was not that great.

The resolution on North Korea also calls on UN member states to pre­vent the transfer of prohibited items on ships flying their states’ flags.

Around the world, an estimated 700 ships fly Cambodian flags, though the vessels have no other links to the country. It is unknown if North Korean vessels sail under Cambodia’s flag of convenience.

Officials at the International Ship Registry of Cambodia did not respond to requests for comment.

 

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