WASHINGTON, June 16, 2009 – The United States and its international partners have the assets and authorities needed to carry out a UN Security Council resolution aimed at stopping North Korea’s proliferation activities, but the Pentagon press secretary expressed hope today North Korea won’t put them to the test. “Hopefully it does not become necessary” to enforce provisions of UN Security Council 1874, Geoff Morrell told Pentagon reporters today. “Hopefully the north will be fully compliant with the Security Council resolution that bans their shipment of a number of goods, including arms.”

The Security Council passed the resolution unanimously June 12, condemning North Korea’s May 25 nuclear test and tightening sanctions aimed at blocking further nuclear, missile and proliferation activities. The resolution widened a ban on North Korea’s arms imports and exports and called on the international community to inspect cargo to or from North Korea suspected of violating its provisions.

“So we continue, as we have for some time, to monitor the North Korean shipments,” Morrell said today. “Should there be reasonable grounds to believe that one of those ships is carrying banned cargo, we have the authorities under the Security Council resolution to take action.”

Such action, should it be warranted, would begin with a request to the North Korean government – not the suspect ship – for a compliant boarding to inspect the ship, he explained. In the event that request is denied, the U.N. Security Council would be informed. The next step would be a request to the North Korean government, asking that it direct the ship into a convenient port to be boarded and inspected.

The resolution, particularly the fact that it passed unanimously, demonstrates the broad international commitment to working together to stop North Korea from proliferating weapons of mass destruction, he said.

“So this is not just about what we can or have been able to do or will be able to do,” Morrell said. “This is about a commitment, on the part of all of our allies, to deal with this problem collectively.”

By working together to prevent the North Koreans from proliferating weapons of mass destruction and other arms, the international community will eliminate a revenue source that sustains the North Korean regime and its ability to pursue its nuclear and ballistic program.

“This has been a main source of revenue for the North for quite some time, and we want to put a stop to it,” Morrell said.

Meanwhile, the resolution will help “prevent that kind of technology from being spread to other countries and other non-state actors where it could pose a threat to us and our allies,” he said.

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