Mongolia cancels open registry for Pyongyang ships

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Mongolia cancels open registry for Pyongyang ships

As the international community has increased its pressure on Pyongyang for its nuclear and missile provocations, Mongolia was reported to have revoked the right for North Korean ships to operate under its flag.

The Mongolian government cancelled contracts with 14 North Korean ships to operate under its flag of convenience, a system where foreign vessels can register under a third country to skirt stringent regulations imposed on their home country, the Voice of America reported on Wednesday.

Though Mongolia is landlocked, over 400 foreign vessels are registered to sail under its flag. Mongolia detailed the cancellation of the contract in a report submitted to the United Nations on July 8 in compliance with the UN Security Council Resolution 2270.

The VOA reported that no North Korean vessel has been operating under the Mongolian flag since it submitted this action plan.

Mongolia was one of over 40 countries that have submitted action plans to the United Nations detailing how they are complying with UNSC Resolution 2270, which was adopted unanimously in March in response to Pyongyang’s fourth nuclear test in January and subsequent long-range missile launch.

This resolution has been touted as implementing the toughest-ever sanctions on North Korea to cut cash flows into the country, which support its weapons of mass destruction programs.

UN member states were requested to submit reports within 90 days of its adoption detailing how they have implemented the resolution.

“North Korea, if it cannot use the flag of convenience, will have to sail under its own flag,” a Korean government official said. “In that case, because of monitoring by the international community, it will be difficult for it to navigate freely.”

This is not the first time North Korean vessels and workers have faced setbacks since the passing of Resolution 2270.

In June, China and Russia enforced a ban on the entry of 27 vessels operated by the North Korean company Ocean Maritime Management, blacklisted under the resolution, from entering their ports.

Uganda also outlined in its report that it would cut down on military cooperation with North Korea, which it announced during a bilateral summit with President Park Geun-hye in June. Likewise, Qatar has limited the issuance of new visas to North Korean workers.

BY YOO JEE-HYE, SARAH KIM [kim.sarah@joongang.co.kr]

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