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Washington and Pyongyang squabble over seizing diplomatic package

Washington and Pyongyang squabble over seizing diplomatic package

Posted June. 20, 2017 07:15,   

Updated June. 20, 2017 07:32


The U.S. said that North Korea had no diplomatic immunity for its claim that the U.S. seized a diplomatic pouch. The accusations came amid mounting tensions over the release of former university student Otto Warmbier in a coma after 17 months in captivity. 

A spokesman for the North's Ministry of Foreign Affairs claimed that its delegation of diplomats, who was on its way home from the Conference of State Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), got mugged on last Friday by American authorities at JFK Airport and the U.S. seized a diplomatic pouch and accused that it was an act of infringement upon the sovereignty of the DPRK via the KCNA.

David Lapan, spokesman of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, admitted that its officers confiscated “multiple media items and packages from the diplomates” But said they were not accredited members of North Korea’s mission to the UN, and therefore had no diplomatic immunity.

With regard to the physical violence at the airport, the spokesman explained that the aggression was initiated by the North Koreans, and that the individuals were released without further incident. They refused to board their departing flight without the items that had been seized. It appears that the North will pressure on the U.S. over the violation on Vienna Convention and the blame game will be continued if the U.S. insists that there was a possibility for the diplomates to bring in prohibited items.

In-Chan Hwang hic@donga.com