DPRK ship not held under sanctions

By Qin Jize (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-10-27 06:34

Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao Thursday dismissed speculation that the detention of a ship from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) by Hong Kong authorities was the result of UN sanctions.

Liu said the local marine department was making a regular inspection of Kang Nam I, a 2,035-ton general cargo ship, which entered the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on Sunday.

The department found the ship had violated safety regulations, Liu said in a weekly briefing yesterday.

Liu said the ship was being held for breaching local shipping regulations, rather than the UN sanctions imposed on the DPRK following its nuclear test on October 9.

Ships can be detained if they do not have life-saving or fire-fighting appliances, or if their navigation equipment, including charts, is outdated or obsolete.

Tan Bole, an official with the Hong Kong marine authority was quoted as saying Kang Nam I was the ninth DPRK ship that his office has inspected this year and six of them had been similarly stopped.

Tan said Hong Kong's checking of the DPRK ships was routine, adding that Hong Kong authorities were carrying out their duties according to international maritime regulations designed to guarantee ships' safety.

The ship had traveled to Hong Kong from Shanghai and was due to return home to Nampo, near Pyongyang, via Taiwan.

Liu reiterated that China would implement UN resolution 1718 that imposed sanctions on the DPRK in an earnest and responsible manner.

Iran nuclear standoff

Liu also used the briefing to restate China's stance on resolving the Iranian nuclear issue through political and diplomatic means.

The spokesman's remarks came as Britain, France and Germany proposed a draft UN resolution on Iran this week, which was circulated among the permanent Security Council members.

US China policy

Liu also urged the United States to strictly abide by its commitment to maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits and in the overall situation of Sino-US relations.

He made the statement in response to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's remarks on Wednesday that the US policy on Taiwan is comprised of an inseparable "package" which includes a commitment to help Taiwan defend itself.

Liu said there is only one China in the world, Taiwan is an integral part of China's territory and "we are committed to the basic principle of 'peaceful reunification' and 'one country, two systems."

"We are resolutely opposed to 'Taiwan independence' and will never allow any one to separate Taiwan from China through any means," said Liu.