Cuba has confirmed a North Korean cargo ship seized in Panama was carrying missiles, fighter jets and other armaments that were loaded in Cuban ports but claimed it was «obsolete defensive weaponry» being sent away for repair.
Panamanian authorities stopped the freighter on Monday when weaponry was found in amongst a load of 10,000 tonnes of sugar. The Panamanian president, Ricardo Martinelli, said the ship, identified as the 14,000-tonne Chong Chon Gang, had been carrying missiles and other arms «hidden in containers underneath the cargo of sugar». He tweeted a photo of some of the equipment, painted in military green.
On Tuesday the Cuban foreign ministry said the 240 tonnes of armaments consisted of two Volga and Pechora anti-aircraft missile systems, nine missiles «in parts and spares», two Mig-21 planes and 15 engines for those planes – all of which had been bound for repair in North Korea.