UNITED NATIONS/SEOUL — The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s UN ambassador said Tuesday the Trump administration should consider the possible consequences that the recent US seizure of a DPRK cargo ship could have on relations between the two countries and immediately return the vessel.
The DPRK ambassador said the ship seizure is the "product of an extreme hostile policy of the United States against the DPRK"
Kim Song said at a news conference the "outrageous act" of seizing the ship was aimed at bringing maximum pressure on the DPRK to make it "kneel down."
The vessel Wise Honest, DPRK's second largest cargo ship, was first detained in April 2018 by Indonesia while transporting a large amount of coal. The US announced May 9 that it had seized the ship because it was carrying coal in violation of UN sanctions, a first-of-its kind enforcement action that came amid a tense moment in relations with the DPRK.
The ambassador said the seizure was an "outright denial of the underlying spirit" of the June 12, 2018, joint statement by US President Donald Trump and DPRK leader Kim Jong-un after their first summit in Singapore.
Kim, the ambassador, told reporters that the ship seizure is the "product of an extreme hostile policy of the United States against the DPRK." He accused the US of violating international law and the 2004 UN Convention on Jurisdictional Immunities of States and Their Property.
This undated photo released by the US Justice Department on May 9, 2019, shows DPRK cargo ship Wise Honest. (PHOTO/ US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE VIA AP)
Kim reiterated that he has asked Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to take "urgent measures" to contribute to stability on the Korean Peninsula, but refused to answer a question on what measures.
The ambassador listened to about a dozen other questions, but he said he wouldn't answer questions not related to the seizure of the Wise Honest and then only repeated some points from his statement.
He ended the news conference saying: "We'll sharply watch the reaction of the United States."
We will never pardon anyone who dare provoke the supreme leadership of the DPRK but will certainly make them pay for it.
Biden slammed for criticizing DPRK leader
Meanwhile, in a commentary later Tuesday, DPRK state media slammed former US vice-president and 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden for criticizing leader Kim Jong-un, calling him "bereft of elementary quality as a human being".
According to Newsweek, Biden said at a campaign launch in Philadelphia on Saturday: "Are we a nation that embraces dictators and tyrants like (Russian President Vladimir) Putin and Kim Jong-un?"
In response to criticism of the DPRK's leadership, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said: "What he uttered is just sophism of an imbecile bereft of elementary quality as a human being, let alone a politician."
"We will never pardon anyone who dare provoke the supreme leadership of the DPRK but will certainly make them pay for it," the KCNA said.
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The KCNA also listed previous controversies concerning Biden, including allegations of plagiarism and falling asleep during a speech by former president Barack Obama in 2011.
The criticism from Biden contrasts with DPRK's repeated references to the good relationship between Kim and Trump. Kim said in April his personal relationship with Trump was still good despite the collapse of their second summit.
HONG KONG NEWS