U.S. ready to help Panama identify weapons on North Korean-flagged ship

The U.S. is willing to help Panama to identify weapons and other materials on board a North Korean-flagged ship that was detained, the State Department said on Wednesday.

Marie Harf, the deputy spokesperson for the State Department, made the remarks on Wednesday during her daily press briefing. Harf responded to questions related to the North Korean-flagged ship that was seized on Monday in the Panama Canal. The ship was suspected of carrying weapons, which would represent a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Harf said the U.S. would provide support as needed to Panama's investigation.

"The types of technical assistance we could provide include things like identifying the material on board as well as providing personnel who are familiar with these types of inspections," Harf said. "So again, we stand ready to help. And of course, I think it goes without saying that any allegations of violations to U.N. Security Council resolutions are incredibly concerning to us. We take them very seriously, and that's why we're going to support the process going forward."

When asked if the ship would result in sanctions against North Korea, Cuba or any other potentially involved parties, Harf said that the U.N. would use due diligence to determine the facts of the situation.

"There's a process at the United Nations to determine whether or not this shipment was in violation," Harf said. "There's the U.N. Security Council Sanctions Committee for the D.P.R.K. which has a mandate to investigate and take appropriate action in response to alleged violations of these sanctions. So there's a process, again, which is just starting. And the ship is still being, I think, unloaded and everything's being sifted through, so that process will be going forward."