More images have been published of the North Korean cargo ship seized in Panama suspected of hiding weaponry in a shipment of sugar from Cuba.
Cuba said on Tuesday evening that the Chong Chon Gang ship was loaded at one of its ports with 10,000 tons of sugar and 240 tons of "obsolete defensive weaponry," according to a statement by the Cuban Foreign Ministry.
In a statement, which was read out on the state TV evening news, Cuba said the weaponry was all required "to maintain our defensive capacity to preserve national sovereignty."
It added: "Cuba maintains its commitment to peace including nuclear disarmament and international law."
Cuba has maintained warm relations with North Korea, including military and economic cooperation.
Cuba said a North Korean cargo ship seized in Panama on Monday was loaded at one of its ports with 10,000 tons of sugar and 240 tons of "obsolete defensive weaponry," according to a statement released by the Cuban Foreign Ministry.
Cuba said the weapons were being sent back to North Korea for repair and included two anti-aircraft batteries, nine disassembled rockets, and two MiG-21 aircraft, all Soviet-era military weaponry built in the middle of the last century.
The crew on a North Korean vessel 'rioted' when it was seized in Panama according to the president. President Ricardo Martinelli said the ship had sailed from Cuba and tried to illegally smuggle suspected sophisticated missile material through the Panama Canal.
The president described the dramatic scenes on the ship speaking on Radio Panama:
The world needs to sit up and take note: you cannot go around shipping undeclared weapons of war through the Panama Canal.
We had suspected this ship, which was coming from Cuba and headed to North Korea, might have drugs aboard so it was brought into port for search and inspection.
When we started to unload the shipment of sugar we located containers that we believe to be sophisticated missile equipment, and that is not allowed
The captain has tried to commit suicide, and the crew also rioted.
So we are holding this vessel for further investigation.
– President Ricardo Martinelli
Cuba is the only one-party Communist regime in the Americas, and a rare ally of also-isolated Pyongyang.