A New Zealand‑led proposal to cut off North Korea's ability to operate in Pacific waters has just been accepted by leaders at the Pacific Islands Forum.
The initiative will see New Zealand help identify North Korean fishing and cargo vessels that fly under the radar using the flags of small Pacific states and get them deregistered.
New Zealand’s Foreign Affairs Minister Gerry Brownlee says they will be prepared to help with intelligence athering to identify them so that Pacific states can deregister them, and be in compliance with UN sanctions regulations.
North Korea has long‑tried to hide its vessels by registering them with small Pacific nations, using the so‑called "flag of convenience" system.
One North Korean ship, the Orion Star, has changed its name multiple times and flown the flags of Tuvalu, Kiribati, and Fiji in recent years, before being blacklisted.
The trouble is, vessels linked to Pyongyang can use fake companies to further disguise their true ownership.
Brownlee says he is prepared to use whatever intelligence capacity necessary in finding out about the structures behind those fishing and trading operations.
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