North Korea demands return of cargo ship seized by US

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea yesterday called the United States (US) seizure of a North Korean cargo ship involved in banned coal exports a “robbery” and demanded that the vessel be returned immediately.

The North’s official Korean Central News Agency, or KCNA, carried a statement by an unnamed foreign ministry spokesman who accused the US of betraying the spirit of a summit agreement last June between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and President Donald Trump.

Kim and Trump agreed then to a vague statement calling for a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula and improved bilateral ties, but a second meeting between the leaders collapsed in February over mismatched demands in sanctions relief and disarmament.

The seizure of the cargo ship, which was announced last week, came at a delicate moment in US-North Korean ties, with North Korea resuming weapons tests that seem meant to force the US to ease sanctions.