The aging craft, heading toward the Strait of Malacca, is an unlikely player in what is fast becoming an international drama.
Vincent Yu, File/AP
The Kang Nam is an aging, rusty cargo ship that has passed through numerous owners. Now flying the flag of North Korea and chugging slowly through East Asian waters toward the Strait of Malacca, it is an unlikely possible flash point for international tensions.
"North Korea has a path toward rejoining the international community, and we hope they take that path," said Mr. Obama on Monday in a prerecorded interview on CBS. "What we're not going to do is to reward belligerence and provocation in the way that's been done in the past."
Tensions have been running high on the Korean peninsula since the May 2 underground nuclear explosion. Pyongyang has said it will consider any attempt to intercept the Kang Nam to be an act of war.
Low-tech weapons on board?
The Kang Nam's destination most likely is Myanmar – possibly the port city of Thilawa. Its cargo is probably low tech but still dangerous: artillery, rifles, and other conventional arms.