North Korea sends a letter to the UN chief, criticizing US’ seizure of its cargo ship

Pyongyang: North Korea’s top envoy to the United Nations Kim Song on Friday sent a letter to UN chief Antonio Guterres, criticizing the US’ recent seizure of its cargo ship as an “outrageous and unlawful” move, Pyongyang’s state media said on Saturday.

“Recently, the U.S. committed an unlawful and outrageous act of taking the DPRK’s cargo ship to Samoa, linking the ship to the violation of the American 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,” Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) quoted Song as saying.

The top envoy urged the UN to take “urgent measures as a way of contributing to the stability of the Korean peninsula and proving the impartiality of the U.N,” reported Yonhap news agency.

Last week, the US Department of Justice announced that it has seized the North Korea’s cargo ship while accusing the secluded nation of illicit coal shipments in violation of United Nations sanctions after it was first detained by Indonesia in April 2018.

North Korea had condemned the action, terming it an “unlawful robbery” while demanding its return.

“This act is an extension of the US-style calculation of trying to hold us in submission with its ‘maximum pressure’ and is a total denial of the fundamental spirit of the June 12 DPRK-US joint statement,” a North Korean Defense Spokesperson said.

Negotiations between the US and North Korea have hit a roadblock over the ease of sanctions, where Pyongyang sought relief as a recognition of the steps taken towards denuclearisation.

In another development, a pro-north Korean newspaper in Japan on Saturday urged the US to retract its position that the relief in sanctions would be given only after Pyongyang carries out “complete and verifiable” denuclearisation.

“An agreement was not reached (in Hanoi) as (the U.S.) insisted on its demand (for the North) to renounce its nuclear arms aimed at North Korea’s unilateral disarmament,” Chosun Sinbo newspaper said in an article.

“The North’s position is that it can engage in negotiations when the U.S. stops its arrogant dialogue method in which it only makes its own demands,” it added. “It is clear that even if the U.S. slaps sanctions, the North would not approach it for negotiations.”

The article further read: “If (the U.S.) fails to keep the year-end deadline put forward (by Kim), (Trump) could see the achievements from diplomacy with North Korea come to naught ahead of a vote where (his) reelection is at stake,” it added.

The meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ended abruptly without any joint statement issued as the two sides reportedly failed to resolve their differences on sanctions waivers.

On Thursday, Trump had said that “nobody was happy” with North Korea’s latest launch of projectiles within this week and they are looking at the matter “very seriously.”


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