North Korea accuses US of 'illegal' seizure of cargo ship

North Korea accuses US of 'illegal' seizure of cargo ship

The North Korean Foreign Ministry on Tuesday accused Washington of complete disregard of bilateral arrangements "to build new relations" following a recent seizure of a North Korean cargo ship by the USA forces.

The United States announced last week it had seized the Wise Honest, which was originally detained in April 2018 by Indonesian authorities. The case marked the first time the United States had seized a North Korean cargo vessel for allegedly violating sanctions.

Undated photo released by the U.S. Justice Dept. on May 9, 2019 shows the North Korean cargo ship "Wise Honest".

The Wise Honest was carrying about 25,000 tons of North Korean coal in March 2018, after loading up at Nampo Port in North Korea.

The North's official Korean Central News Agency, or KCNA, carried a statement by an unnamed foreign ministry spokesman who accused the United States of betraying the spirit of a summit agreement last June between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump. Their second meeting in Vietnam in February collapsed without agreement. The U.S. announcement of the ship seizure came hours after the North fired two short-range missiles on Thursday.

In a thinly veiled threat, it added: "The US must realize the effect of its gangster-like actions. and must return our ship without delay".

After oil tankers damaged, Trump warns Iran
Port officials take a photo of a damaged Andrea Victory ship at the Port of Fujairah, United Arab Emirates, May 13, 2019. Transportation Department, warned Thursday that "Iran and/or its regional proxies" could target commercial sea traffic.

In a statement in the official Korean Central News Agency, North Korea's foreign ministry warned of unspecified "consequences" in response to the USA seizure of the vessel.

Negotiations regarding North Korea's nuclear weapons have recently stalled and tensions between the two countries have been rising.

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

The statement accused Washington of attempting to use "maximum pressure" on North Korea in a bid to bring the country "to its knees".

Experts believe coal and other exports help finance the North's weapons industry.

It was brought Saturday to American Samoa, where it will undergo inspections.

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