The Mysterious North Korean Ship

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary

by Daniel Nardini

A few weeks ago, a North Korean flagged ship ran aground on a Mexican government-protected coral reef. The Mexican Navy towed the ship to the Mexican port of Tuxpan where it has been held ever since. According to the Mexican government, the North Korean government said it would pay for the damage done to the reef, and that the North Korean ship should be released. The North Korean ship, the Mu Du Bong, is being held in the Mexican port of Tuxpan because there is suspicion that it is part of a North Korean front company to secure and transport illegal weaponry and merchandise back to North Korea. North Korea, of course, denies this, and is demanding its ship back “or else.” What that or else means is subject to interpretation. One thing is clear enough, this ship is not as innocent as it seems.

We must remember that a similar North Korean ship was seized by Panama less than two years ago. That ship, which come from Cuba and was bound for North Korea, had weaponry and a Mig-21 airplane hidden under tons of Cuban sugar. What might this ship seized by Mexico be hiding? More to the point, what might Cuba have given to North Korea? We must remember that the Cuban government had provided weaponry in violation of United Nations’ sanctions against North Korea. This much we have learned from the North Korean ship that had been seized in 2013 by Panama. So, I ask myself the question of why the U.S. State Department is so intent of removing Cuba from America’s list of state sponsored terrorism?

It was not that long ago that Cuba helped North Korea in providing weaponry and probably much more in violation of United Nations’ sanctions against North Korea. There is no question that North Korea is a sponsor of terrorism, and there is no doubt that by U.S. or international law, anyone aiding a nation or entity that sponsors terrorism is therefore guilty of sponsoring terrorism themselves. Guess where that puts Cuba?! So for the U.S. government recommending Cuba being removed from the list of countries that sponsor terrorism……it is in my view a political act in order for U.S. President Barack Obama to establish formal diplomatic relations with the Cuban government. But the evidence of two North Korean ship violating United Nations’ sanctions, and Cuba obviously aiding North Korea, is at odds with the notion that the Cuban government is somehow neutral. I am thoroughly convinced that Cuba should not be removed from the list of those nations that sponsor terrorism until the Cuban government does a much, much better job of coming clean with what goes on North Korean ships when they are in Cuban ports.

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