Hong Kong turns away North Korea freighter seeking to dock, following UN sanctions

North Korea's new multiple launch rocket system being test fired, in an undated handout picture from North Korea's Korean Central News Agency.
North Korea's new multiple launch rocket system being test fired, in an undated handout picture from North Korea's Korean Central News Agency. PHOTO: REUTERS

HONG KONG (AFP) - Hong Kong has turned away a North Korean freighter seeking to dock following new United Nations sanctions over Pyongyang's nuclear test and rocket launch, the government said on Thursday (March 10).

A government spokesman said the Gold Star 3 vessel was rejected when it arrived in Hong Kong waters on Wednesday.

"The vessel was refused entry into Hong Kong waters on March 9 as it is on the annex of the Resolution of the United Nations Security Council," a government spokeswoman told AFP in an e-mailed statement.

"Hong Kong, being part of the People's Republic of China, has the responsibility to implement the sanction measures decided by the UNSC."

South Korea's Yonhap news reported, citing an unnamed source, that the Gold Star 3 arrived in the southern Chinese city in an attempt to "get fuel and supplies for its crew", but sailed to international waters after it was turned away.

The ship is among 31 vessels run by North Korean shipping firm Ocean Maritime Management which is covered by the sanctions, the report said.

The UN Security Council last week imposed the toughest ever sanctions on North Korea in response to its fourth nuclear test and rocket launch.

Backed by the body's 15 members, including China, North Korea's sole ally, the resolution requires countries to take the unprecedented step of inspecting all cargo to and from North Korea, impose trade restrictions and bar vessels suspected of carrying illegal goods for North Korea from ports.