North blasts U.S. on ship in American Samoa

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North blasts U.S. on ship in American Samoa

North Korea’s top envoy to the United Nations (UN) has sent a letter to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to criticize the United States’ recent seizure of its cargo ship suspected of violating international sanctions, Pyongyang’s state media said Saturday.

In the letter sent Friday, Kim Song called the seizure an “unlawful, outrageous and sovereignty-infringing” act, which, he said, indicated the United States is “indeed a gangster country,” according to the North’s official Korean Central News Agency.

The U.S. Justice Department said on May 9 that it has seized the 17,061-ton Wise Honest suspected of transferring coal and machinery in violation of the sanctions regime, in the first such direct seizure by U.S. authorities.

“Recently, the United States committed an unlawful and outrageous act of taking the DPRK’s cargo ship to Samoa, linking the ship to the violation of U.S. domestic law, and this act of dispossession has clearly indicated that the United States is indeed a gangster country that does not care at all about international laws,” the North’s permanent representative at the UN wrote in the letter.

DPRK is an acronym for North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

“Moreover, the United States committed a sovereignty-infringing act of flagrantly violating the UN Charter by dispossessing the cargo ship where the DPRK’s sovereignty is fully exercised,” the envoy added.

Kim also made a call for the UN chief to take “urgent measures,” saying international concern is growing over the likely impact on the peninsula to be caused by the “heinous act” of the United States.

“I believe that the Secretary General of the United Nations is requested to take urgent measures as a way of contributing to the stability of the Korean Peninsula and proving the impartiality of the UN,” he said.

“We will follow actions to be taken by the UN,” he added.

The seizure added to uncertainties over the prospects for the resumption of stalled nuclear talks between Washington and Pyongyang.

Their negotiations have hit an impasse since the second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Hanoi, Vietnam, in February due to a failure to bridge gaps over the scope of Pyongyang’s denuclearization and Washington’s sanctions relief.

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