North Korea accuses US authorities of 'mugging' its diplomats at NY airport

N. Korea says US'mugged delegation

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 Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) condemned on Sunday the USA security services for seizing a diplomatic package from its delegation at an airport in NY on Friday.

A spokesman for the hermit kingdom's Ministry of Foreign Affairs accused the United States of forcibly seizing a "diplomatic package in "an illegal and heinous act of provocation".

The diplomats were in possession of a valid diplomatic courier certificate, KCNA said.

"This clearly shows that the U.S. is a felonious and lawless gangster state", the spokesman said in comments carried by the North's official KCNA news agency.

"That said, considering the entire North Korean national budget is less than the NYPD's alone, I'm not sure they're in a position to volunteer their hosting services" to the United Nations, he added.

"As the diplomats vigorously resisted, they [US authorities] grabbed the diplomatic package using physical violence and made off", said the spokesperson, who did not disclose the contents of the diplomatic package.

"The U.S. should reflect on its reckless act and be fully aware of the grave consequences to follow", the spokesman told KCNA.

The claim comes in the wake of the return to the United States of University of Virginia student Otto Warmbier - who'd been detained in North Korea on suspicion of theft last year and sentenced to 15 years' hard labor - in a coma.

Continuing military cooperation with South Korea has angered the North, leading to warnings of nuclear war.

The spokesman described the incident as "an illegal and heinous act of provocation".

Warmbier - who was sentenced to 15 years at hard labor for allegedly stealing a political poster from a restricted floor of a North Korean hotel - was sent home to OH with severe brain damage, which North Korea blamed on his contracting botulism and taking a sleeping pill following his trial in March 2016.

The U.S. State Department has not commented on the incident. Warmbier was arrested back in January 2016 after he overstayed in North Korea - being there on a tourist visa.

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