A two-man team of North Korean diplomats arrived in Panama to explain about and participate in the inspection of the detained cargo ship. However, the Panamanian presidency declared invalid a document issued by the Foreign Ministry that would have granted them access to the ship.
North Korea and Cuba have had a longstanding and somewhat mysterious relationship since the time of Kim Il-sung. Almost every North Korean Chief of the General Staff visits Cuba. Rumors of North Korean combat forces deployed on Cuba have punctuated reporting on the relationship for decades, but have proven unfounded.