North Korea responds to Trump’s suggested meeting saying it is ‘interesting’
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. said Thursday that it has seized a North Korean cargo ship that was used to violate international sanctions, a first-of-its kind enforcement action that comes amid a tense moment in relations between the two countries.
The “Wise Honest,” North Korea’s second largest cargo ship, was detained in April 2018 as it traveled toward Indonesia and is in the process of being moved to American Samoa, Justice Department officials said.
Officials made the announcement hours after the North Korea fired two suspected short-range missiles toward the sea, a second weapons launch in five days and a possible signal that stalled talks over its nuclear weapons program are in trouble. The public disclosure that the vessel is now in U.S. custody may further inflame tensions, though U.S. officials said the timing of their complaint was not a response to the missile launch.
“North Korea fired several short-range projectiles off its east coast on Saturday, in a move likely to raise tensions as denuclearization talks with the United States remain stalled,” the New York Times reports.
“The South Korean military said in a statement that the North had fired several short-range projectiles between 9:06 a.m. and 9:27 a.m. from near Wonsan, a coastal town east of Pyongyang, the capital. The projectiles flew 70 to 200 kilometers before they landed in the sea between North Korea and Japan, it said.”
Seoul, South Korea — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived in Russia by train on Wednesday, a day before his much-anticipated summit with President Vladimir Putin. The visit comes as Kim’s recently-feverish diplomacy with the Trump administration, aimed at ridding the North Korean regime of its nuclear weapons, remains deadlocked.
Kim, dressed in a black coat and a fedora, met Russian officials at Russia’s Khasan train station near its border with the North. The official website of the Primorye governor released pictures of Kim stepping off the train and being given the traditional Russian gifts of bread and salt at the station.
Speaking to Russia’s state-owned Rossiya-24, Kim said on arrival that he was hoping for a “successful and useful” visit and would like to discuss with Putin, “settlement of the situation in the Korean Peninsula” as well as bilateral ties with Russia.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will visit Russia later this month, the Kremlin said Thursday, in a meeting that offers President Vladimir Putin an opportunity to emerge as a broker in the long-running nuclear standoff and raise Russia’s profile in regional affairs.
The Kremlin said in a brief statement Thursday that Kim will visit Russia “in the second half of April” on Putin’s invitation, but gave no further details.