North Korea: US officials seized diplomatic package at JFK


North Korea accused the United States on Sunday of "mugging" its delegation carrying a diplomatic package in NY, as tensions between the two countries soar.

We've highlighted bluster like this in the past, but this might just take the cake.

North Korea has accused U.S. officials of assaulting a delegation at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport by forcibly seizing a diplomatic package they were carrying.

"The statement then slammed the United States as a felonious and lawless gangster state".

The North Korean diplomats were reportedly on their way back to Pyongyang after attending a United Nations conference on the rights of persons with disabilities.

A North Korean foreign ministry spokesman told state news agency KCNA that its officials had been "robbed", branding the U.S. a "lawless gangster state".

The incident comes after a relative calm couple of weeks on the Korean Peninsula, following months of rising tension over North Korea's nuclear tests and rocket launches in defiance of United Nations sanctions.

It is alleged that they used "physical violence" to snatch the package even though the diplomats had "a valid diplomatic courier certificate".

The diplomats resisted, but the USA officials grabbed the diplomatic bag "using physical violence", said the North, calling it an "illegal and heinous act of provocation".

North Korea had accused Mr Warmbier - who had been on a tour of the country - of stealing a propaganda sign, claims disputed by those who were with him on the trip.

North Korea's JFK "mugging" claim - that its delegation was roughed up there by US agents who grabbed a legal "diplomatic package" - has been countered by the Department of Homeland Security saying three North Koreans were confronted at the airport but they had no diplomatic status.

Pyongyang said that Warmbier fell into a coma soon after he was sentenced in March of previous year for stealing a political poster from a North Korean hotel. "The package in question had no protection from inspection", read a statement.

The ministry also asked the world to "seriously reconsider" NY as a venue for major worldwide events and demanded Washington provide an explanation for infringing upon its sovereignty.

American doctors said Mr Warmbier had suffered extensive brain damage.

Continuing military cooperation with South Korea has angered the North, leading to warnings of nuclear war.

Warmbier - who was sentenced to 15 years at hard labor for allegedly stealing a political poster from a restricted floor of a North Korean hotel - was sent home to OH with severe brain damage, which North Korea blamed on his contracting botulism and taking a sleeping pill following his trial in March 2016.

U.S. student Otto Warmbier was recently returned from North Korea in a "very" serious condition.