North Korea on Tuesday said that a U.S. seizure of one of its cargo ships last week was illegal, and demanded the vessel’s return while calling the incident a violation of the “spirit” of President Trump’s summit with Kim Jong Un earlier this year.
An unnamed North Korean foreign ministry spokesperson said on state television that the seizure was an “outrageous” step for the U.S. to take months after the second meeting between Trump and Kim ended without a major agreement on denuclearization or sanction relief, according to Reuters.
“The United States committed an unlawful and outrageous act of dispossessing our cargo ship,” the official said, according to KCNA news agency.
“The latest U.S. act constitutes an extension of the American method of calculation for bringing the DPRK to its knees by means of ‘maximum pressure’ and an outright denial of the underlying spirit of the June 12 DPRK-U.S. Joint Statement,” the statement continued.
U.S. authorities announced the seizure of the North Korean vessel “Wise Honest” last week, accusing the ship’s operators of seeking to violate U.S. sanctions by transporting North Korean coal for sale to “unwitting” U.S. buyers while also attempting to transport heavy machinery back to North Korea.
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