“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,” read a letter addressed to Guterres by North Korea’s permanent representative to the UN, as quoted in a Saturday report by the KCNA news agency.
The protest letter, dated Friday, further demanded “urgent measures” by the UN chief and accused the US of violating Pyongyang’s sovereignty in breach of the United Nations charters.
North Korea’s objection to the world body over the US seizure of its cargo vessel came amid rising tensions between Pyongyang and Washington since the second summit in Vietnam between its leader Kim Jong-un and American President Donald Trump, purportedly aimed at reaching a deal on denuclearization of the North, ended in total failure back in February.
Pyongyang has also emphasized that the ship’s confiscation further violated the spirit of the summit, calling for its immediate release.
North Korea’s foreign ministry also censured on Tuesday the US seizure of the cargo vessel – Wise Honest — as “an illegal act of robbery.”
“The United States carried out an illegal act of robbery by seizing our cargo ship citing UN Security Council sanctions resolutions,” an unnamed ministry spokesman said in a statement carried by KCNA.
The statement further rejected United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions against North Korea — which the US cited to impound the vessel — as an infringement on its sovereignty.
“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,” it added, warning Washington against “consequence of its gangster-like actions.”
The US Justice Department declared on May 9 that it had confiscated a North Korean cargo ship after it was first seized by Indonesian authorities, alleging that it had been engaged in the illicit shipments of coal in violation of US-led and UNSC economic sanctions against Pyongyang.
N Korea calls US seizure of ship ‘robbery,’ demands returnNorth Korea says the seizure of one of its cargo ships by the US violates the spirit of a summit deal between the leaders of the two countries in June 2018.
The unusual measure was taken after North Korea test-launched a number of missiles on two occasions within a few days in what was seen as an act of protest for the US’s refusal to dial down the sanctions.
However, the US Justice Department insisted that the timing of the move was not related to the missile launches.
In a bid to block revenue for North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs, Washington has spearheaded several rounds of sanctions against Pyongyang at the UNSC since 2006. The bans have mostly targeted Pyongyang’s exports, including coal, iron, lead, textiles, and seafood, while also hindering the imports of crude oil and refined petroleum products.