US fails to slam N Korea at UN General Assembly
The US has abandoned an attempt to hold a UN Security Council session to slam North Korea’s human rights record after failing to muster enough support for the bid.
UN diplomats confirmed on Friday that Washington does not have the essential nine votes in the 15-member council (UNSC) to carry out its annual bid since 2014 to hold a meeting on Pyongyang’s right record this year, even though US President Donald Trump is seeking a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
"They don't have the numbers this year," said a UNSC diplomat as quoted in an AFP report, adding that "Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) is not on board." The council meeting on North Korea was tentatively scheduled for Monday.
A historic summit between Trump and Kim last June opened up dialogue on denuclearization of the Korean peninsula between the two countries after months of exchanging military threats. A second summit is expected next year amid a growing distrust of Washington by Pyongyang.
The US has succeeded in the past years to secure the nine votes needed at the UNSC to hold the meeting against Pyongyang, despite opposition from China.
UN diplomats, however, insisted on Friday that only eight council members backed the US request this year, with non-permanent member Ivory Coast refusing to budge to US pressure to support its political scheme at the world body.
Pyongyang had written to UNSC members last month to urge them against backing Washington’s request for the meeting in its bid to defame North Korea for political gains in its military and foreign policy objectives.
North Korea’s UN Ambassador Kim Song told council members last month that criticism of Pyongyang's human rights record would "swim against the current trend" of rapprochement and "stoke confrontation."
A 2014 report by a UN Commission of Inquiry pointed to human rights abuses across North Korea, but Pyongyang firmly rejected it as a fabrication, based on testimony from dissidents living in exile.
China, meanwhile, has persistently argued that the UNSC should not be the venue for discussions on human rights as a threat to international peace and security.