North Korea seeks return of its cargo ship seized by US, urges UN to intervene

North Korea in a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has complained about the “illegal and outrageous” seizure of one of its cargo ships by the US, the media reported on Saturday.

Kim Song, North Korean representative to the UN, wrote the letter to Guterres seeking “urgent” mediation.

Pyongyang described the seizure of the freighter Wise Honest as “unlawful, outrageous and sovereignty-infringing” act, which indicated that the US was “indeed a gangster country”, according to the state-controlled Korean Central News Agency.

The US Justice Department said on May 9 it captured the 17,061-tonne vessel, suspected of transferring coal and machinery in violation of sanctions, in the first such direct seizure by American authorities.

“Recently, the US 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. This act of dispossession has indicated that the US is indeed a gangster country that does not care about international laws,” Kim Song stated in the letter.

Moreover, the US committed a sovereignty-infringing act of flagrantly violating the UN Charter by dispossessing the cargo ship where the DPRK’s sovereignty was fully exercised, the envoy added.

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