North Korea accuses USA of 'mugging' diplomats at JFK Airport

South Korean President Moon Jae-In left with NIS Director Suh Hoon.  Yonhap

"This mugging act of the USA serves as a graphic account telling the world how reckless and despicable the U.S. hostile policy towards the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] has become", according to a statement released by North Korea's official news agency.

According to The New York Times, the diplomatic row arose after a delegation of North Korean diplomats were reportedly stopped at New York's JFK International Airport, and a diplomatic package that was in their possession was seized by US officials.

The official Korean Central News Agency said diplomats were returning from a United Nations conference on rights of persons with disabilities on Friday when the package was taken, calling it an "illegal and heinous act of provocation".

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". This clearly shows that the U.S.is a felonious and lawless gangster state.

The ministry also asked the world to "seriously reconsider" NY as a venue for major worldwide events and demanded Washington provide an explanation for infringing upon its sovereignty.

The UN Security Council has imposed sanctions against North Korea for the reclusive state's nuclear and ballistic missile activities.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the North Korean officials protested strongly and US officials asked them to board the flight, saying the package would be handed over to them later.

Last week, North Korea returned U.S. university student Otto Warmbier to his family in a coma, more than a year after he was sentenced to 15 years' hard labor for stealing a propaganda item.

The White House and the US State Department had issued no immediate comment on the North's statement.

"Whether or not the North Korean account is entirely accurate, their treatment of American student Otto Warmbier takes away North Korea's right to complain about anything", King said. "If anything, this was good police work".

A North Korean spokesperson said a delegate "was literally mugged" at JFK on Friday while trying to return home from a United Nations conference.

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