North Korea to Panama: Give Back Our Ship
'Aging' weapons due for repair, return: Pyongyang
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Jul 18, 2013 1:43 AM CDT
Updated Jul 18, 2013 4:03 AM CDT
A police officer stands guard aboard the North Korean-flagged freighter Chong Chon Gang at the Manzanillo International container terminal on the coast of Colon City, Panama, July 17, 2013.   (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)

(Newser) – North Korea is finally weighing in on the seizure of its ship by Panama, and it says the weapons found on board are simply for repair and return to Cuba. "This cargo is nothing but aging weapons which are to be sent back to Cuba after overhauling them according to a legitimate contract," says Pyongyang's foreign ministry, per state news. "The Panamanian authorities should take a step to let the apprehended crewmen and ship leave without delay."

The Chong Chon Gang's 35 crew members are set to be charged with crimes against Panamanian security, officials say, via the BBC. Meanwhile, Panama says it's likely to give the ship to the UN. It's calling on the organization to look into whether sanctions were violated; supplying weapons to North Korea is banned. "It's going to be transferred to the UN Security Council; they will decide what to do," says Panama's security minister, per Reuters. UN investigators are set to visit the ship at the end of the month, Panama says.

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Jul 18, 2013 6:25 PM CDT
Weren't we saying the same thing (give back our ship) to North Korea in 1968? USS Pueblo: Siezed in international waters by NK navy, 1 seaman killed, crew held captive 11 months, ship still in possession of NK. P... on 'em
Jul 18, 2013 11:48 AM CDT
(R) 2016 Gov. RICK PERRY Report: American Republican bureaucrats like Panamanian President RICARDO MARTINELLI, he is honest and his Panamanian government DON'T take bribery from Hong Kong's tycoons. Mr. President RICARDO MARTINELLI can be trusted from American CIA and FBI, perhaps the South Korean NSS and Hong Kong's ICAC anti-corruption excluded Beijing, China.
Jul 18, 2013 11:01 AM CDT
If I were Panama, I would send a message back to North Korea stating "come get your sh*t. And, please don't worry, we removed all those weapons from the sugar for ya!"