WASHINGTON (CNN) - U.S. forces should board a North Korean ship if there is "hard evidence" it is transporting nuclear weapons technology in violation of the recent U.N. Security Council resolution, Sen. John McCain said Sunday.
Appearing on the CBS program "Face the Nation," the Arizona Republican said the North Korean ship being tracked by the USS John McCain - a destroyer named after his father and grandfather - may be contributing to the spread of nuclear weapons to rogue states.
"If we have hard evidence that that ship is carrying technology equipment missiles that are in gross violation of the U.N. Security Council resolutions, I think we should board it," said McCain, who lost his presidential bid to Barack Obama in last November's election.
The Security Council resolution, passed in response to recent nuclear and missile tests by North Korea, banned arms shipments to and from the country. It authorized seeking permission to board vessels suspected of carrying banned cargo, but stopped short of calling for boarding or otherwise halting them.
North Korea has warned that any effort to stop one of its ships would be considered an act of war.
Its ship, the Kang Nam, left North Korea on Wednesday and was heading south in the Yellow Sea along the Chinese coast, according to Pentagon sources.
While U.S. officials do not know what is on the ship, the Kang Nam is a "repeat offender," known for having carried "proliferation materials" in the past, a senior defense official said.