North Korean officials accused U.S. authorities of "mugging" their diplomats at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York on Friday.
According to CNN, Pyongyang's state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) accused U.S. Department of Homeland Security officers and airport police of taking a diplomatic package away from one of the country's diplomats.
The North Korean diplomats were reportedly returning from a U.N. conference on disability rights when the incident took place. KCNA said it proved that the U.S. was a "lawless gangster state."
The State Department rejected the notion and said the North Korean citizens were not accredited members of North Korea's mission to the UN and had no entitlement to diplomatic immunity. In a statement, the department added that "the package in question had no diplomatic protection from inspection."
The incident comes amid heightened diplomatic tensions between the U.S. and North Korea after the hermit kingdom released jailed American student Otto Warmbier last week.
Warmbier, who was found guilty of stealing a propaganda poster from a North Korean hotel last year and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor, returned to the U.S. with extensive brain injuries and was described by doctors as being in a state of "unresponsive wakefulness."
North Korea said he contracted botulism and fell into a coma after taking a sleeping pill.