June 21st, 2009
01:50 PM ET
13 years ago

McCain: Board N. Korean ship if we know it has banned cargo

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.

Filed under: John McCain • North Korea
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Ken in NC

    That's right Senator McCain, make an act of war against another nation, especially while it is skirting the coast of China. Really smart Senator. Someone has put something in this mans Metamucil.

    June 21, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  2. The black spider

    Is this Old man out of his mind? There is something called the international law. Why should the USA violate that law and give legitimacy of a declaration of war to Kim Jong ill.
    Did he know who will suffer from a proxy war betwen N korea and the south corea or how many people will die from a nuclear war betwen the N korea.
    Can we have other UN nations to support us defending S korea when we violate the law? Can we even afford another war?
    This guy is sick and I am glad he is not the president because it would have lead inevitablely to a Third World War.

    June 21, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  3. GI Joe

    You were rejected Songbird. I think our DoD will know what to do. You have no power. Can't wait for AZ to wise up and vote you out of our lives.

    June 21, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  4. bruce

    its a game of chess

    June 21, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  5. Donkey Party

    Sure John, let's go in guns blazing into N. Korea and Iran while we're at it. We haven't boarded the ship because we don't know what's in it, you blithering idiot! Is anyone buying into any of this fools ideas on foreign policy? People should be eternally thankful we didn't get this buffoon and his side-kick hate-spewing cheerleader in the Whitehouse. What a cowardly disgrace this sub-human is. I DESPISE HIM AND THE REST OF THE GOP AND THEIR MINIONS OF SCARED LITTLE YELLOW-BELLIED SHEEP (except for Colin Powell, the only sane, smart, and rational one in thie ranks)!!!

    June 21, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  6. yoyolite

    Borad ship-start war. Nice move. North Korea will e outraged.

    June 21, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  7. Willy Brown

    Bomb the thing already

    June 21, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  8. Longhorn#1

    How you gonna know it's got banned cargo until you board it dumb butt.

    June 21, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  9. Wespac

    this man should be nowhere near a position of authority. If it were up to him, we'd be having wars with Russia, North Korea, and Iran in addition to Iraq and Afghanistan. I hope one day people vote these warmongers out of office.
    They are nothing but Anti- anything Obama, to heck with the people. If if weren't for President Obama they'd have no positions on anything.
    The world is watching as they show reveal their true identities and write their own destiny.

    June 21, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  10. Simmy

    The name game......Stay tuned.....

    June 21, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  11. John

    Let us hope that cooler heads prevail.

    June 21, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  12. Larry

    And where we get such hard evidence John ...???

    Maybe from the same people that informed George W. of WMDs in Iraq ...???

    Maybe we should ask Rush Limbaugh, if he knows ....!!

    June 21, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  13. Denna

    OMG. Senator McCain has finally said something that is useful to President Obama. I agree that that ship should be watched very closely. However, please, please, we don't need to let ourselves be sucked into another search for phantom WMDs. Our political capital in that area has been badly squandered. But yes, we really need to watch North Korea and figure out if they really want to start something or are they acting up because they want something other than a battle. God preserve our President.

    June 21, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  14. The Party of NO is only “pro-life” to save a zygote now, so it can then kill the “babies” 18 years later as soldiers in an elective religious war.

    "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,"

    Something like the hard evidence we "had" about WMD's?

    Statements like that McCrypt, are exactly why the majority of American voters did NOT want you, a hot-headed, ill-tempered, bitter old man in the Oval Office.

    Go take a nap while those yellow dentures soak in Polident .

    June 21, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  15. Henry Miller

    If the ship is suspected of violating United Nations resolutions, it should be the United Nations taking action, not the United States.

    June 21, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  16. Flex

    John McCaine, and his reckless, lawless, imposing, international offensive attitude would start a nuclear attack on behalf of North Korea.

    The diplomatic approaches have not been exhausted, so McCaine is totally out of bounds by insisting we use force to get our way.

    In addition to his hard evidence claims, this white house will not fabricate facts to justify an illegal invasion.

    McCaine is a dangerous leader, and wholly incompetent in regards to international affairs!

    June 21, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  17. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Let their kissin' cousins, the Chinese, board the boat. They have more at stake in that region than we ever will. And after that, pay a visit to the Pakis who gave them the technology in the first place, just to say "thanks, fellas!"

    June 21, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  18. JT

    Another John McCain quote makes for a ticker item, CNN? No news going on that you have to track John McCain down for a quote? Don't make yourself obsolete by following the obsolete, CNN.

    June 21, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  19. Jasmine in Germany

    Mr. McCain, the US does not have the right to board a foreign ship without authorization of such action (including military) from the UNSC. If the US did this, it IS an act of war. Is the US ready for another illegal war? Let the UNSC do their job and please keep such comments behind closed doors.

    June 21, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  20. Grrr-awful-o

    The problem is that we don't know for certain whether there is anything that's banned on board or not. This could be a dummy ship meant to attract an interdiction that finds nothing. From the NK perspective it would be a great strategy especially if there is some violence associated with the interdiction. It would be a great embarrassment to the US. AND the next ship, probably loaded with some real banned weaponry, would not be as likely to be boarded after a big embarrassment with this one. That is exactly what Saddam Hussein did. He acted as much as possible like he was hiding WMD and when we got there and found none it was a great embarrassment – and rallying cry from half the citizens of the US to leave Iraq (and other countries) alone. If Saddam's gamble had paid off we would have left him alive and next time he could have gone back to developing WMD (who can deny that that was his penchant?) without much risk of us ever returning and embarrassing ourselves again. I suspect that the NK ship has nothing in it and is being used as bait this time.

    June 21, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  21. Lynn

    I am surprised McCain wouldn't just blow it out of the water. Wasn't he one of the cheerleaders who supported the Iraq War for those imaginary WMDs?

    McCain has no idea what is going on with our allies and proves once again he does not have the qualifications to be Commander in Chief.

    June 21, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  22. No Hillary = No Obama

    Another reason I voted for McCain – he knows what he is talking about when it comes to national security and does not have a need to bow to Islam.

    June 21, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  23. mark z

    Epitome of an over the top HAWK. 1) Attack N Korea vessel in intnl waters, 2) N Korea goes literally "ballistic", 3) USA offers apology like Iraq – well – we thought there were WMD onboard.

    June 21, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  24. Robert B

    Why should we be concerned about what McCain thinks?

    June 21, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  25. Thomas

    One more reason it was a good thing that Senator McCain was not elected President.

    Under what authority would the United States have for intercepting and boarding a vessel of a sovereign nation in international waters?

    The PSI does not allow it
    Nor does the latest UNSC resolution.

    It would be considered piracy.

    What the United States can do is follow the ship and as soon as it enters the territorial waters of a PSI signature country, have that nation legally stop and inspect the ship.

    June 21, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
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