Eurasia Review on 15th March reported that, frustrated by North Korean sanctions evasion, the US wants to be able to interdict suspect vessels on the high seas using force if necessary – but doing so without the consent of the flag state (or UN authorisation) would violate the international law of the sea.  John Bolton is said to be trying to organise a “coalition of the willing” to interdict vessels on the high seas suspected of carrying UN banned cargo to or from North Korea.  Such use of force without the consent of the flag state or UN Security Council approval would violate a centuries-old principle of freedom of navigation—which the US has long insisted upon and claimed to defend (and in the 19th Century led to a war between the US and UK).  Bolton was also the man behind the previous Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), launched by President Bush in May 2003, is intended to prevent traffic in elements of WMD.  It too featured maritime interdiction and seizures, a “coalition of the willing”, and is said to have stretched international law to the limit.

Author: raytodd2017

Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section

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