North Korea demands explanations from USA over seizure of diplomatic package

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The North Korean regime is accusing US customs agents in NY of "mugging" a diplomatic delegation from the secretive, totalitarian country.

North Korea has demanded the United States provide official explanations over an incident at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport on June 16 when a diplomatic package was seized from a North Korean delegation.

"Diplomats of a sovereign state are being robbed of a diplomatic package in the middle of NY where the headquarters of the United Nations is located and that serves as the venue for worldwide meetings including the United Nations General Assembly", the spokesman said through the state's official KCNA news agency.

The ministry also asked the world to "seriously reconsider" NY as a venue for major global events and demanded Washington provide an explanation for infringing upon its sovereignty. The North Korean diplomats, who had "a valid diplomatic courier certificate", offered "vigorous resistance but the group of about 20 police officers and "those who claimed to be from the US Department of Homeland Security" used "physical violence" to grab the diplomatic package".

A foreign ministry spokesperson speaking through KCNA called the US a "felonious and lawless gangster state". Washington says it is concerned by North Korea's nuclear and missile tests. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison by North Korea and was accused of committing the "hostile act" of stealing a political poster from a wall in his hotel.

North Korea, a one-party state that maintains prison camps and has a dire record on human rights, has for decades pursued a nuclear weapons program, despite global condemnation and successive rounds of United Nations sanctions.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the North Korean officials protested strongly and USA officials asked them to board the flight, saying the package would be handed over to them later.

But US Rep. Pete King (R-LI) dismissed North Korea's claims.

"Besides, North Korea is known the world over for using diplomatic pouches for illicit smuggling".

A North Korean spokesperson said a delegate "was literally mugged" at JFK on Friday while trying to return home from a United Nations conference.

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