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18 May, 2019 14:17

North Korea calls for urgent UN measures in response to seizure of cargo ship by ‘gangster’ US

North Korea calls for urgent UN measures in response to seizure of cargo ship by ‘gangster’ US

Pyongyang has urged the UN to act after North Korea's bulk carrier, the Wise Honest, was captured by US forces. It was seized a year after being detained in Indonesia.

Pyongyang’s UN representative Kim Song has sent a letter on Friday to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres asking for immediate action to be taken to return the ship.

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“You must take urgent measures as a way of contributing to the stability of the Korean peninsula and proving the impartiality of the UN,” the letter said.

North Korea’s UN representative also called the US’s action “unlawful” and “outrageous,” describing the US as a “gangster country that does not care at all about international law,” according to North Korea’s state media KCNA.

The ship was seized by the US a year after it was detained in Indonesia. It was loaded with a $3 million shipment of North Korean coal, and the vessel had its AIS tracking transponder turned off when it entered Indonesian waters. Indonesian authorities arrested the captain and charged him with knowingly hoisting a false flag, UN Security Council documents show. Later, a US judge issued a warrant to seize the vessel in July 2018. Officials announced the seizure Thursday as the vessel was close to entering US territorial waters.

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Calling on the UN, North Korea had also cited disappointment in the failed summit between Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump in Singapore last year. The summit was heralded as reconciliation between the two countries, which have been in conflict for decades. But the second meeting in Vietnam this February showed both countries stand far away from any constructive deal. This has lead to a new round of confrontations.

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It’s unclear whether the UN will respond to North Korea’s latest demand. The UN has sanctioned the country numerous times for violating UN Security Council resolutions with its nuclear and missile programs. One of Kim Jong-un’s demands at the summit with Trump in Singapore was that some of these sanctions would be lifted, but the agreement ultimately came to no avail on this issue.

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