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N Korea demands return of detained cargo ship

AFP  |  Seoul 

on Tuesday demanded the return of a cargo ship seized by last week for violating international sanctions, calling it an "illegal act of robbery".

On Friday, the said it had taken possession of the North Korea-registered bulk carrier M/V Wise Honest, one year after it was detained in Indonesia, citing illicit sanctions-busting activities.

It was the first time a North Korean cargo vessel had been seized by the US for sanctions violations, after several years of high seas cat-and-mouse games in which Korean shippers disguised vessels, used false flags and turned off their tracking transponders to avoid discovery.

A for the North's foreign ministry slammed the move on Tuesday, saying it was an outright violation of the spirit of a deal signed by leader Un and US at their landmark summit in last June.

"The carried out an illegal act of robbery by seizing our cargo ship citing sanctions resolutions," the said in a statement carried by the official Agency (KCNA).

The move was an "extension of US calculation" to bring to its knees through maximum pressure, he said.

"The US must realise the consequence of its gangster-like actions... and must return our ship without delay," the statement added.

is sanctioned under multiple resolutions for its nuclear and missile programmes and lifting of some of the measures was a key demand at a second Trump-Kim summit in in February that ultimately broke down without a deal.

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

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, May 14 2019. 11:16 IST