US Vice President Joseph Biden, on a visit to Panama, said the arrest of a North Korean ship carrying Cuban weapons has made a contribution to international security.
Biden was in Panama for talks with President Ricardo Martinelli.
Panamanian authorities seized the ship in July. Inspectors also found two Cuban fighter jets and missile parts amid a load of sugar.
A preliminary report by United Nations experts determined that the seized ship violated U.N. sanctions that bar the supplying of weapons to North Korea.
Biden said that “Panama did what we have hoped for in other parts of the world. It dared to act when others would have retreated.”
The vice president said, “This is what responsible countries do.”
Biden arrived in Panama for an economic mission that included touring Panama’s $5.2 billion canal expansion project.
Biden has said the project, scheduled to be completed by 2015, presents a challenge to U.S. ports that need to expand to receive the new, larger container ships that will pass through the waterway.