The Korea Herald


N.K. says seized ship was carrying ‘aging weapons’ under legitimate contract

By 김정보

Published : July 18, 2013 - 09:19

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North Korea denounced Panama Thursday for interdicting a North Korea-flagged ship on suspicion of drug transport, calling it a "fiction."

"The Panamanian investigation authorities rashly attacked and detained the captain and crewmen of the ship on the plea of 'drug investigation' and searched its cargo but did not discover any drug," a North Korean foreign ministry spokesman said, according to Pyongyang's official news agency, KCNA.

"Yet, they are justifying their violent action, taking issue with other kind of cargo aboard the ship," the spokesman added.    A North Korean freighter, Chong Chon Gang, was seized by the Panamanian authorities earlier this week before passing through the Panama Canal after leaving Cuba.

The ship has a public record of carrying narcotics, officials said. But analysts said it was apparently carrying missile-related equipment.

Pyongyang denied the allegations    "This cargo is nothing but aging weapons which are to send back to Cuba after overhauling them according to a legitimate contract," the spokesman said. "The Panamanian authorities should take a step to let the apprehended crewmen and ship leave without delay." (Yonhap News)