- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 18, 2017

The North Korean regime is accusing U.S. customs agents in New York of “mugging” a diplomatic delegation from the secretive, totalitarian country.

U.S. officials on Friday forcibly confiscated a diplomatic package being carried by a member of the North Korean delegation, as they passed through U.S. customs screening after landing at John F. Kennedy International Airport, Reuters reports.

A spokesman for North Korea’s Foreign Ministry characterized the confiscation as “an illegal and heinous act of provocation,” adding that his country’s diplomats were “literally mugged” upon entering the United States.

“Diplomats of a sovereign state are being robbed of a diplomatic package in the middle of New York where the headquarters of the United Nations is located and that serves as the venue for international meetings including the United Nations General Assembly,” the spokesman said in a statement to state-run KCNA news agency.

“This clearly shows that the U.S. is a felonious and lawless gangster state,” he added.

State Department officials declined to comment on the incident or what the confiscated package contained.

Pyongyang’s inflammatory comments on the incident in New York come a week after the regime released U.S. citizen Otto Warmbier. The former University of Virginia student and Ohio native had been in North Korean custody since January 2016.

Mr. Warmbier was arrested as he was attempting to leave Pyongyang that year, charged with committing “hostile acts” against the regime after stealing a propaganda poster from his hotel.

Upon returning to the U.S., Mr. Warmbier was suffering from severe brain damage, indicating he may have been tortured while in North Korean custody.

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