The United Nations has been called in to investigate, but there is little mystery to the arms smuggling case. A ship owned by North Korea, bearing a huge North Korean flag, tried to smuggle tonnes of arms through the Panama Canal. Cuba has credibly claimed ownership of the weapons and missile parts. There seems no question it is yet another clumsy attempt by North Korea to flaunt the UN, international law and the world community.
Panama turned the ship, the Chong Chon Gang, and its cargo over to the UN. It detained the 35-man North Korean crew for questioning. Panama has no diplomatic relations with North Korea, but issued visas so that two diplomats from Pyongyang could be present. The UN Security Council will have to address the case, but there have been immediate ramifications.
The United States said it will raise the case with Cuba. A senior US official called it "a grave violation of international treaties".
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