A North Korean cargo ship was impounded by the Philippines Saturday in response to tough new United Nations sanctions against Kim Jong Un’s regime, aimed at undermining the reclusive country’s ability to continue its nuclear weapons program. The move by the Philippines was the first reported case of the sanctions — adopted late Wednesday over Pyongyang's recent nuclear and ballistic missile tests — being enforced.
North Korea’s Jin Teng, the 6,830-ton cargo ship, will not be allowed to leave Subic port, located in the northeastern part of Manila, where it had been docked for three days, presidential spokesman Manolo Quezon said on state-run radio station Radyo ng Bayan, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP). Quezon reportedly said that the crew on board the vessel would be deported.
"The world is concerned over North Korea's nuclear weapons program and as a member of the UN, the Philippines has to do its part to enforce the sanctions," Quezon reportedly said.
Philippine authorities reportedly inspected the vessel Friday and a further scrutiny will be carried out by a team from the U.N. at the port, located near a former U.S. naval base, foreign affairs spokesman Charles Jose said, according to AFP.
On Saturday, the vessel was inspected for the second time using electronic weapons sensors, coastguard spokesman Commander Armand Balilo told AFP, adding that the 21 crewmen were "very cooperative.”
The U.N.'s strong sanctions against North Korea come nearly two months after Pyongyang claimed to have tested a nuclear weapon at an underground facility in the northeastern part of the country, near the border with China, in January and its long-range rocket launch in February.
Meanwhile, the North Korean leader ordered his military to be ready to use its nuclear weapons at a "moment's notice," South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reported Friday, citing the North's official Korean Central News Agency.