North Korea’s deputy representative to the U.N. said a detained North Korean ship is not owned by a blacklisted shipping firm, and demanded its immediate release. File Photo by blurAZ/Shutterstock.
NEW YORK, April 8 (UPI) -- North Korea's deputy representative to the U.N. said on Wednesday Mexico authorities are "forcibly detaining" a North Korean freight ship and demanded for its immediate release.
Speaking at a press conference at U.N. headquarters, An Myong Hun said the United States is responsible for the detainment of the North Korean ship Mu Du Bong.
"The United States is pressuring [Mexico] to not release the Mu Du Bong," An said according to South Korean television network KBS.
"The U.S. need not intervene in a North Korea-Mexico issue."
In response to the comments from the North Korean envoy Mexico's ambassador to the U.N. Ricardo Alday said that his country was fulfilling international obligations under U.N. Security Council resolutions.
Yonhap reported Alday said 33 North Korean nationals who were on board the Mu Du Bong are in good condition at a hotel in Mexico.
The ship had drifted into a coral reef 9 miles from the Mexican port town of Tuxpan on July 14 after falling off its designated sea route.
The two countries are in the middle of negotiating a repatriation agreement.
Mexico and North Korea are in disagreement, however, over the ownership of the Mu Du Bong.
Mexico said the ship belongs to North Korea's Ocean Maritime Management, a firm blacklisted by the U.N.'s North Korea sanctions committee for engaging in illicit arms trades in the past.
Mexico asked Pyongyang to pay for the damages to the coral reef and for the cost of towing the ship to safety.
The North Korean embassy in Mexico agreed to pay for the towing expenses but the North Korean envoy to the U.N. denied any links between the Mu Du Bong and the blacklisted company.
On Tuesday South and North Korea envoys to the U.N. were locked in a tense debate over North Korea's nuclear weapons program, reported Voice of America.
Paik Ji-ah, the deputy permanent representative of South Korea to the U.N. said North Korea must give up its nuclear weapons development in compliance with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
In response, An Myong Hun, Paik's North Korea counterpart, said the U.S. and South Korea's joint military exercises signaled a hostile policy against North Korea.