Due to concern over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, the U.N. has declared tougher sanctions on the radical country. “One component of the new sanctions requires countries to inspect all cargo passing through their territory en route to or from North Korea. Inspections previously had been required only if there was reasonable suspicion of contraband aboard.” This is a pretty interesting sanction in and of itself, just because it is a pretty invasive measure for a sovereign country. But what is even more interesting is that the Philippines is the first country to enforce these sanctions. The Philippines will impound a vessel at a commercial port that is registered and flagged under multiple countries, but is one of only 31 listed as being owned by North Korea. Its crew will be deported. A U.N. team will inspect it.
In light of everything that’s going on in the world, and the reluctance of most countries and entities to step in a do more, I thought this was a really promising and inspiring decision by the Philippines. They could have easily let the chance go by, but instead they decided to be proactive. They decided to tackle their own problems. They decided to think about the big picture rather than just the cost or trouble imposing the sanctions might cause them. A small and impoverished country, it seems like they are putting forth a pretty powerful and rich example.