The United States Navy has intercepted a North Korean ship suspected of carrying missile technology to Myanmar, also known as Burma.
The New York Times reports that the navy forced the ship to turn back after a dramatic stand-off. The incident took place on 26 May.
The newspaper said on Sunday the North Korean Communist government was forced to recall the ship home after the confrontation, which involved several days of diplomatic wrangling.
The US government has made no official announcement about the operation.
UN sanctions imposed on North Korea after it conducted nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009 include a ban on trade in nuclear and missile technology.
A UN resolution adopted last year authorized UN member states to inspect North Korean sea, air and land cargo.
According to the Times, the USS McCampbell caught up with the cargo ship M/V Light south of Shanghai after American officials began tracking the vessel, which was believed to have been involved in previous illegal shipments.
The Times said the destroyer asked to board the vessel under authority given by Belize, but the North Koreans refused.
An American official told the Times the ship was North Korean, but flagged in Belize. Citing American officials, the newspaper said authorities in Belize gave the United States permission to inspect the ship.