DPRK's UN envoy denounces US seizure of cargo ship

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Kim Song, permanent representative of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to the United Nations, speaks during a press conference at the UN headquarters in New York, on May 21, 2019. [Photo/Xinhua]

The permanent representative of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to the United Nations on Tuesday denounced the U.S. seizure of a cargo ship of his country.

On May 9, the United States "committed an unlawful and outrageous act" of dispossessing DPRK's cargo ship Wise Honest by forcibly taking it to American Samoa under the pretext of unilateral sanctions and violation of U.S. domestic law, Kim Song told reporters at the UN headquarters in New York.

The cargo ship was detained in Indonesian waters in April 2018. Its seizure was announced by the U.S. Justice Department on May 9, 2019, for allegedly violating U.S. and UN sanctions.

Kim said Tuesday that the unilateral sanctions and domestic law, which the United States has employed as legal grounds for the seizure, are "clearly illegality and injustice," because unilateral sanctions and extraterritorial application of national jurisdiction to a third country cannot be justified under international law.

The Wise Honest is a state-owned ship and a property of the DPRK, he said. "We regard it as a part of our territory where our sovereignty is fully exercised."

He noted that a spokesperson for the DPRK Foreign Ministry on May 14 demanded the immediate return of the ship and urged the U.S. government to consider how its actions might impact future relations between the two countries.

Kim said he sent a letter last week to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres with regard to the seizure "in order to inform our principled position."

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