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North Korea: US officials seized diplomatic package at JFK

19 June 2017

U.S. Department of Homeland Security spokesman David Lapan said Sunday its officers did seize multiple media items and packages from three North Koreans who, according to the U.S. State Department, were not accredited members of North Korea's Mission to the United Nations and had no diplomatic immunity.

North Korea has accused us officials of assaulting a delegation at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport by forcibly seizing a diplomatic package they were carrying.

"Diplomats of a sovereign state are being robbed of a diplomatic package in the middle of NY where the headquarters of the United Nations is located and that serves as the venue for global meetings including the United Nations General Assembly", the spokesman said through the state's official KCNA news agency.

The spokesman also branded the action as "a planned and organized provocation" and "an intolerable act of infringement upon the sovereignty of the DPRK", warning that the United States should "be fully aware of the grave consequences to follow".

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"Diplomats of a sovereign state are being robbed of a diplomatic package in the middle of NY where the headquarters of the United Nations is located and that serves as the venue for global meetings including the United Nations General Assembly", the spokesman said in a statement to state-run KCNA news agency.

It also said the purported Friday incident "clearly shows that the U.S. is a felonious and lawless gangster state".

"At the airport, a group of more than 20 including those who claimed to be from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the police officers made a violent assault like gangsters to take away the diplomatic package from the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) diplomats who were in possession of a valid diplomatic courier certificate", a spokesman for North Korea's foreign ministry told the news agency.

North Korea did not detail the contents of the package.

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State Department officials declined to comment on the incident or what the confiscated package contained.

North Korea had accused Mr Warmbier - who had been on a tour of the country - of stealing a propaganda sign, claims disputed by those who were with him on the trip.

North Korea, a one-party state that maintains prison camps and has a dire record on human rights, has for decades pursued a nuclear weapons programme, despite global condemnation and successive rounds of United Nations sanctions.

City Councilman Joe Borelli (R-Staten Island) said of the North Koreans: "Given their explanation of Warmbier's condition, I wouldn't rush to judgment".

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"Diplomats of a sovereign state are being robbed of a diplomatic package in the middle of NY where the headquarters of the United Nations is located and that serves as the venue for global meetings including the United Nations General Assembly", the spokesman said.

North Korea: US officials seized diplomatic package at JFK