North Korea Accuses US of 'Robbery' for Seizing Cargo Ship

Relations have cooled since Kim Jong Un and South Korea's President Moon Jae-in held their first meeting

North Korea on Tuesday denounced the impounding of one of its cargo ships as "unlawful robbery" and demanded the United States return the vessel without delay.

"This act of "maximum pressure" is a continuation of the United States' calculating style, created to push us into submission", the North Korean foreign ministry said.

Before the United States seized the cargo ship, the 177-meter (581-foot) vessel, named the Wise Honest, had first been detained by Indonesia in April 2018 while transporting a large amount of coal.

Washington was badly mistaken if it believed it could control Pyongyang with force, the ministry statement said, adding it would keep a sharp eye on future U.S. behaviour.

The North Korean foreign ministry said in a statement that it rejected the United Nations security resolutions against their country, which the US used as reasoning to take control of the ship and demanded a return of the vessel.

North Korea's formal name is the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).


The American Justice Department said last week that it had taken possession of North Korean-registered vessel M/V Wise Honest in American Samoa. -North Korean ties, with North Korea resuming weapons tests that seem meant to force the United States to ease sanctions.

The 17,000-ton vessel, North Korea's second-largest cargo ship, had been used to export North Korean coal in violation of global sanctions, USA officials say.

In recent weeks, North Korea has resumed testing ballistic missiles after refraining from such launches for a year-and-a-half.

Negotiations regarding North Korea's nuclear weapons have recently stalled and tensions between the two countries have been rising. A second meeting between the two leaders collapsed in February over demands about sanctions relief and nuclear disbarment.

North Korea is under heavy sanctions, but it has managed to circumvent the restrictions.

The ship arrived this week at the port of Pago Pago in the USA territory of American Samoa.

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