Sunday, June 21, 2009

ေျမာက္ကိုးရီးယား ဗမာ အေပးအယူ

REUTERS/Paul Yeung/Files (HONG KONG POLITICS)SEOUL (Reuters) – A North Korean ship that the United States is shadowing is likely headed for Myanmar, South Korean television reported on Sunday.

YTN channel quoted a South Korean intelligence source as saying the final destination of the Kang Nam looks to be Myanmar, after leaving a North Korean port on Wednesday.

(The Kang Nam I, a North Korean 2,035-tonne general cargo ship, is pictured near Lantau Island in Hong Kong in this October 24, 2006 file photo. The U.S. Navy is monitoring a vessel called Kang Nam -- not confirmed to be the same ship that was detained in Hong Kong in 2006 for suspected safety violations -- under new U.N. sanctions that bar North Korea from exporting weapons, including missile parts and nuclear materials June 20, 2009.)
North Korea has raised tensions in the region in the past months by test-firing missiles, restarting a plant to produce arms-grade plutonium and holding a May 25 nuclear test, which put it closer to having a working nuclear bomb.

Analysts say the North's moves are partly aimed at building internal support for its leader, who is believed to have suffered a stroke last year and appears to be laying the foundation for his youngest son to eventually take over the impoverished nation.

A Japanese newspaper said that Kim's third son, Kim Jong-un, has assumed the post of acting defense chief, cementing his position as the successor to his father.

U.S. officials have declined to say what the North Korean ship might be carrying but said it was "a subject of interest." North Korea has five similar ships used for weapons trade.

Fox News quoted a senior U.S. military source as saying the ship appeared to be heading toward Singapore and that the navy destroyer USS John McCain was positioning itself in case it gets orders to intercept, according to a story on its website.

Singapore, a U.S. ally, said it would act "appropriately" if the vessel heads to its port with a cargo of weapons. Singapore has the world's busiest shipping port and is also the world's top ship refueling hub.

The Kang Nam is the first North Korean ship to be monitored under the new sanctions, adopted this month in response to Pyongyang's May nuclear test. The resolution authorized U.N. member states to inspect North Korean sea, air and land cargo.

Japan's Mainichi newspaper, citing unidentified sources close to North Korean leadership, said on Saturday the Swiss-educated Kim Jong-un has been working as acting chairman of North Korea's National Defense Commission, supporting his father, who is commission chairman.

"If something happens to (Kim Jong-il, Jong-un) looks set to move up to the post as chairman," the paper quoted one of the sources as saying.

(Reporting by Angela Moon in Seoul and Kiyoshi Takenaka in Tokyo; Editing by Alex Richardson)

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