North Korea accuses America of ‘mugging’ its diplomats of a package at JFK airport and says New York should no longer be the seat of the United Nations
The US has been branded a ‘lawless and felonious state’ by North Korea after its officials were supposedly ‘literally mugged’ by police in New York’s JFK airport.
According to North Korean state media organization KNCA, the officials were returning from a UN conference on the rights of persons with disabilities on Friday when a package was taken from them.
‘The international community needs to seriously reconsider whether or not New York, where such an outrageous mugging is rampant, is fit to serve as the venue for international meetings,’ the government fumed in a statement.
According to KNCA, the officials were in possession of a valid diplomatic courier certificate, which means they should have been able to pass through security unhindered.
But, they said, a ‘gang of more than 20’ cops and members of the Department of Homeland Security were waiting for them.
The cops then ‘made a violent assault like gangsters to take away the diplomatic package,’ the report alleged.
It added that the team were ‘on standby waiting for the delegation in front of the boarding gate of the specific flight before making the assault.’
That, KNCA claimed, ‘leaves no doubt that this was a planned and organized provocation.’
The State Department and White House had no immediate comment on the North Korean statement.
The official statement warned of ‘grave consequences’ and concluded by demanding an apology from the US government.
‘If the US fails to give its due response to our demand which is all too reasonable and fair enough, it will be totally responsible for all the consequences to be entailed,’ it said.
This is the latest ratcheting up of tensions between the US and North Korea following the return of prisoner Otto Warmbier, 22, who is in a coma after being held by North Korea for 17 months.
Warmbier, 22, who arrived in the United States on Tuesday, is stable but ‘shows no sign of understanding language, responding to verbal commands or awareness of his surrounding,’ a doctor at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center said.
Tensions have also been raised after North Korea held a succession of missile tests in the Sea of Japan.