As North Korea demanded the return of its Wise Honest bulk carrier impounded by the U.S. in violation of the UN sanctions, the U.S. government refused, saying, "International sanctions must be enforced."
“The North Korean bulk carrier was illegally towed by the U.S. to American Samoa,” North Korea's United Nations Ambassador Kim Song said during the 14-minute press conference held at the UN headquarters in New York on Tuesday. “The horrible unilateral sanctions and domestic law, which the United States has employed in dispossessing our cargo ship is clearly illegal,” he said.
“The United States should deliberate and think over the consequences its outrageous act might have on the future developments. Also, the United States must return our cargo ship without delay,” said Ambassador Kim. He also said Pyongyang will "sharply watch every move" of the U.S. Kim did not provide immediate answers to questions asked by reporters after his pre-written six-minute speech.
Pyongyang criticized the U.S. for its seizure of the bulk carrier during a talk attended by its foreign ministry spokesperson on May 14, which was followed by Ambassador Kim’s letter to UN Secretary-General António Guterres asking for the UN’s urgent measures on May 18.
The U.S. practically refused North Korea’s request for the return of the ship emphasizing that sanctions against North Korea would be kept. "As determined by the United Nations Security Council, international sanctions remain in place and are to be enforced by all United Nations members," a U.S. State Department spokesperson said in response to the question from The Dong-A Ilbo at the press conference. "As President Trump has said, he believes North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will fulfill his commitment to denuclearize, and the United States remains open to diplomatic negotiations with North Korea to make further progress on that goal," the spokesperson added.