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N. Korea’s trade cargo ship sets sail amid UN sanctions

Update: April, 18/2017 - 11:00

SEOUL  North Korea held a ceremony to mark the sailing of a trade cargo ship, the North’s state media today reported, amid the country’s setbacks in international trade caused by severe UN sanctions for its nuclear and missile development programmes.

Rodong Sinmun, the newspaper of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party, said the 5,000-ton Jaryok set sail during the ceremony held at the Ryongnam Dockyard in the western port city of Nampho on Monday and it "provided another material and technical foundation for developing the maritime transport of the country."

According to the daily, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un instructed a 5,000-ton cargo ship to be built and named the ship in person, with the word "Jaryok" meaning self-reliance.

North Korea held a launching ceremony for the ship in May last year when the North’s ruling party held its first congress in 36 years.

The North’s maritime transport is one of its sectors hit hardest by the UN Security Council’s strengthening of sanctions against the country following its fourth nuclear test last year.

Under the measure, ships owned by Ocean Maritime Management Co, a Pyongyang-based shipping company, were blacklisted in the sanctions resolution imposed on the North for carrying out the nuclear test in January last year.

It was part of a move designed to act as a logistical restriction that will prevent the free movement of banned ships cited for engaging in North Korea’s nuclear and other weapons development programmes.

The registrations of many North Korean vessels made in the third country’s nationality were called off. The North Korean shipping firm has been evading the sanctions regime by changing the names of most of its ships.

The trade ship sailing is seen as the North’s resolve to flout the economic sanctions in order to expand its international trade based on the spirit of self-reliance stressed by the North Korean leader.

"I understand the North is trying to show the international community it has its own technologies to carry out shipbuilding and is able to engage in trade despite international sanctions," said Cho Bong-hyun, a senior analyst at IBK Economic Research Institute.  YONHAP

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