North Korean diplomats are accusing United States officials of forcibly taking an unspecified diplomatic package they were bringing back to their country, according to Bloomberg. The group was returning from a United Nations conference.
More than 20 police officers "made a violent assault like gangsters to take away the diplomatic package from the DPRK diplomats who were in possession of a valid diplomatic courier certificate," reports the Korean Central News Agency. "The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the DPRK regards this mugging by the U.S. as an intolerable act of infringement upon the sovereignty of the DPRK and a malicious provocation, and strongly condemns it."
“The package in question had no diplomatic protection from inspection,” said U.S. Department of Homeland Security spokesman David Lapan, according to The Washington Post.
“The reported aggression was initiated by the North Koreans,” Lapan added “The individuals were released without further incident but subsequently refused to board their departing flight without the items that had been seized.”
The State Department maintains that the diplomats were not officially accredited.
What this means for the increasingly strained relations between the United States and the DPRK is unclear. This latest news certainly exacerbates the political tension over student Otto Warmbier, an American citizen who was arrested and detained in North Korea after attempting to steal a political banner and later returned to the United States with severe, unexplained brain damage.
[Photo: Getty Images]