North Korea demands return of US-seized cargo ship

North Korea demands return of US-seized cargo ship

The North's foreign ministry said in a statement that it rejected U.N. Security Council resolutions against it which the United States cited in impounding the vessel, as a violation of its sovereignty.

North Korea on Tuesday demanded the US returned a cargo ship used to transport that was seized in violation of worldwide sanctions against the rogue regime, calling it a "robbery".

In a thinly veiled threat, it added: "The US must realize the outcome of its gangster-like actions. and must return our ship without delay". The vessel was originally seized in Indonesia previous year for allegedly circumventing UN-imposed sanctions on shipping coal.

A second summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump ended without agreement in February, with the US insisting North Korea give up its nuclear programme and Pyongyang demanding sanctions relief.

North Korea's formal name is the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

Kim called for "full combat posture" following the U.S. seizure of the cargo ship. The ship, known as the "Wise Honest", had initially been detained by Indonesian officials in April 2018 but has since been impounded by the United States and taken to American Samoa.

At their first summit in June 2018, Trump and Kim vowed to improve relations and to work "toward the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula".

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The test of the missiles and the firing of a series of projectiles on Saturday were the first missile launches by North Korea since that of an intercontinental ballistic missile in November 2017.

USA officials have shrugged off the three short-range missile tests, saying the door remains open for talks with the North. -North Korea summit at the Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel in Hanoi, Feb. 28, 2019.

North Korea is banned from exporting coal under United Nations sanctions toughened in 2017 to punish increasingly powerful weapons tests that year.

When it was detained in 2018, the Wise Honest was carrying about 25,500 tons of coal - a load valued at around $3 million at the time.

Experts believe coal and other exports help finance the North's weapons industry.

The North Korean leader called for "full combat posture" following the USA seizure of the North Korean cargo ship.

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