Pyongyang Accuses US of Violating Deal After North Korean Cargo Ship's Seizure

North Korea on Tuesday said the seizure of one of its cargo ships by the USA for violating sanctions was a "robbery" that violated the "fundamental spirit" of a pact made by President Trump and Kim Jong Un previous year.

The country's foreign ministry said in a statement that in doing so, the USA had violated the spirit of the Trump-Kim summit in Singapore previous year.

The announcement of the USA seizure of the vessel came as tensions rose over Pyongyang's test launches of short-range missiles last week.

"The United States carried out an illegal act of robbery by seizing our cargo ship citing UN Security Council sanctions resolutions", the spokesman said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

"This act of "maximum pressure" is a continuation of the United States' calculating style, created to push us into submission", the North Korean foreign ministry said.

Last week, the US Department of Justice said that the United States seized a vessel, known as Wise Honest, due to what it described as the breach of US and UN sanctions by engaging in illicit coal shipments.

The detention marked the first time a North Korean cargo vessel had been seized by the United States for sanctions violations.

"The US should ponder over the consequences its heinous act might have on the future developments and immediately return our ship", the statement added.

The Wise Honest was carrying about 25,000 tons of North Korean coal in March 2018, after loading up at Nampo Port in North Korea.

Negotiations regarding North Korea's nuclear weapons have recently stalled and tensions between the two countries have been rising.

USA officials have stressed that the seizure announcement had nothing to do with the tests.

FILE PHOTO: North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump talk in the garden of the Metropole hotel during the second North Korea-U.S. summit in Hanoi, Vietnam February 28, 2019.

North Korea is banned from exporting coal under United Nations sanctions in 2017.

The cargo ship arrived in American Samoa on Monday.


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