Seoul, Dec. 13 (Reuters): North Korea called for an apology from the United States today for “unpardonable piracy” after a North Korean ship containing 15 Scud missiles was detained on its way to Yemen, a demand branded “absurd” by a US official.
The incident was the first of two crises to involve the reclusive Communist state, dubbed by Washington part of an “axis of evil”, this week. Pyongyang decided yesterday to restart a nuclear reactor, mothballed in 1994 over the suspected production of weapons-grade plutonium.
A North Korea cargo ship, the So San, was intercepted by Spain in the Arabian Sea on Monday and then handed over to US forces, which later allowed it to continue on its course after deciding the ship was not breaking any laws.
“The United states should apologise for its high-handed piracy committed against the DPRK’s trading ship and duly compensate for all the mental and material damage done to the ship and its crew,” North Korea’s foreign ministry said in a statement reported by the official Korean Central News Agency.
DPRK — Democratic People’s Republic of Korea — is North Korea’s official name.