North Korea Orders US to Return Cargo Ship

Spokesman calls seizure of ship a 'flagrant act of robbery'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 14, 2019 7:21 AM CDT
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A man watches TV screens showing a photo of North Korean weapon systems at the Yonhap News Agency building in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, May 10, 2019.   (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
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(Newser) – North Korea has expressed its displeasure with the US seizure of one of its cargo ships in standard North Korean fashion, denouncing the "flagrant act of robbery" and threatening unspecified consequences. "The United States committed an unlawful and outrageous act of dispossessing our cargo ship," a North Korean foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency. The statement said the seizure had violated the "underlying spirit" of the agreement President Trump and Kim Jong Un signed after last year's summit, the New York Times reports. The official warned that it would be the "biggest miscalculation" for the US to think it could control North Korea by force.

The ship, the Wise Honest, was violating sanctions by exporting coal, according to the Justice Department. It was detained in Indonesia in April last year and is now in American Samoa after being confiscated by US authorities. "The United States must mull over what repercussions its gangster-like act will entail, and must return our vessel without delay," North Korea's statement said. Kim called for North Korea to be on "full combat posture" after the seizure of the ship was announced, reports Reuters. Analysts tell the Times that recent North Korean short-range missile launches may have been Pyongyang's way telling the US it needs to compromise on sanctions—and the country may be using the seizure of the Wise Honest to ratchet up tensions. (Read more North Korea stories.)

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