North Korea says US ‘Mugged’ Their Diplomats at JFK Airport
When a team of delegates from North Korea attempted to board their flight at JFK Airport to Pyongyang after a UN Conference, DHS agents seized a package of media items. The DPRK threw a fit, calling it a “mugging” by US officials, stating that it was a “violent assault like gangsters.”
When authorities seized the items, the three North Korean delegates tried to stop them, and a struggle ensued. What was in the package that they were so concerned about US authorities taking it?
“The delegation of the DPRK… was literally mugged at the John F. Kennedy International Airport by the U.S. authorities that forcibly took away a diplomatic package from the delegation by an illegal and heinous act of provocation.” KCNA North Korean State news
They claimed it was 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.” Statement by North Korea
The DHS has a different story for the JFK Airport confrontation, of course. The three delegates were not part of the normal North Korean “accredited” delegation to the United Nations, according to DHS spokesman David Lapan. The group of North Koreans were in New York to attend the 10th Session of the Conference of State Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The US acknowledged that they seized a package from the three people, and noted that they resisted the seizure.
“The package in question had no diplomatic protection from inspection…The reported aggression was initiated by the North Koreans. The individuals were released without further incident but subsequently refused to board their departing flight without the items that had been seized.” David Lapan
Diplomatic pouches are normally not subject to inspection or seizure. The DPRK issued a strongly worded statement that called the United States a “felonious and lawless gangster state” and the international community should rethink whether New York was “fit to serve as the venue for international meetings.”