The U.S. Department of Justice on May 9 (local time) seized a North Korean cargo ship called “Wise Honest” for allegedly shipping coal illegally in violation of the sanctions against North Korea. This is the first time that the U.S. has seized a private North Korean vessel for violating international sanctions. It is seen as a warning to North Korea, which is increasing threats by extending the range of projectiles.
U.S Justice Department said on the same day that it has seized North Korea’s bulk carrier Wise Honest, which was used to illicitly ship coal from North Korea, and the ship is being transferred to U.S. territorial waters. It has also been confirmed that it filed a civil forfeiture complaint against the vessel at the Southern District of New York.
The 17,061-ton vessel has been used to illegally export coal from North Korea to China and Russia, and import heavy machineries to North Korea. The vessel was first detained by Indonesia in April, 2018 when it was sailing in the East China Sea after loading coal from North Korean Nampo Port. With the seizure of the vessel by the U.S. and North Korea’s second missiles launch, tensions between the U.S. and North Korea are intensifying.
U.S. President Donald Trump on the same day officially warned North Korea of its second missile launch by saying, “We’re looking at it very seriously right now.” Trump used the word “missiles” unlike the first time by saying, “They were smaller missiles, short-range missiles.” Talking to the reporters at the White House, he said, “Nobody’s happy about it, but we’re taking a good look, and we’ll see.” He added, “They want to negotiate, they’re talking about negotiating, but I don’t think they’re ready to negotiate.”