Panama Detains North Korean Ship, Finds Hidden Weapons
A North Korean ship traveling through the Panama Canal on its way from Cuba has been detained, and Panama is claiming to have found undeclared weapons on board the ship.
According to a Reuters report, Panama detained the ship on suspicion of drug running. Authorities then found the weapons hidden in containers that were labeled to carry brown sugar. The crew of the ship reportedly resisted Panamanian efforts to redirect the ship, and the ship’s captain attempted suicide.
It is still unclear just what type of weapons were being hidden, though Reuters quotes a military intelligence consulting firm as saying some of the materials were for a fire control radar for surface-to-air missles. Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli tweeted a photo of the alleged weapons late Monday night:
Panamá capturo barco de bandera Norcoreana proveniente de cuba con cargamento bélico no declarado pic.twitter.com/MdWGfbXvVJ
— Ricardo Martinelli (@rmartinelli) July 16, 2013
North Korea put the world on-edge this past spring after issuing threats against South Korea. The threats intensified shortly after South Korean protests during the 101st birthday celebration of Kim Jon-un, the first leader of North Korea and the grandfather of current leader Kim Jong-un. Communications between the Korean countries were cut off by the North, which issued numerous declarations of war before finally proposing talks with South Korea in June.