North Korea has accused Mexico of illegally holding one of its ships and warned it would take “necessary measures” to release the vessel.
The 6,700-tonne freighter "Mu Du Bong," which had come from Cuba, ran aground on a reef, 13 kilometres northeast of Tuxpan in Mexico's Veracruz state. Satellite shipping data shows the ship is still in the port of Tuxpan.
But the United Nations said that the ship, the Mu Du Bong, was owned by a North Korean company that was under United Nations sanctions
and should be “frozen” and that the panel had received excellent cooperation from Mexico in tracking the company and its assets.
"The Mu Du Bong is a peaceful merchant ship," North Korea's deputy representative An Myong Hun told reporters at the North Korean mission.
"The detention of the Mu Du Bong is a rampant violation of the dignified sovereignty of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea," he said adding, "We will take necessary measures to make the ship leave immediately."
The North Korean diplomat said a crew of 50 North Koreans were being held with the ship and added: "Their families are crying for their return."
"The United States is pressuring [Mexico] to not release the Mu Du Bong," An said. "The U.S. need not intervene in a North Korea-Mexico issue."
Mexico's UN mission spokesman Ricardo Alday said that this was not an illegal action and that his officers were fulfilling international obligations under Security Council resolutions.
Mexico said the ship belongs to North Korea's Ocean Maritime Management, a firm blacklisted by the U.N.'s North Korea sanctions
committee for engaging in illicit arms trades in the past.
The Mu Du Bong ran over a coral reef near Mexico's Tuxpan port last month and was impounded after the ship was connected to the Ocean Maritime Management (OMM) firm, blacklisted by the UN Security Council after one the Chong Chong Gang was found transporting arms from Cuba in 2013.