Dec 05, 2019 14:21 UTC
  •  North Korea warns against UN human rights meeting

North Korea has warned the United States against holding any United Nations Security Council meeting to discuss the country’s human rights situation.

The US holds the Security Council presidency this month, and diplomats have said the US administration is planning a meeting on North Korea’s human rights situation on December 10.

Kim Song-hye, the North Korean ambassador to the UN, said in a letter to the 15 members of the Council on Wednesday that Pyongyang considered any council meeting on its human rights situation as “another serious provocation” by the US and that the country would “respond strongly to the last.”

Kim called any discussion of North Korea’s human rights “a flagrant violation” of the UN Charter and “an act of flattering and yielding to the US’s hostile policy.”

A minimum of nine Council members need to support a request for the meeting on the North Korean issue in order to defeat any attempt to block it.

“The United States and those countries on board shall bear full responsibility,” Kim said. “If the Security Council would push through the meeting… the situation on the Korean Peninsula would take a turn for the worse again.”

In a statement earlier in the day, several European countries blasted North Korea’s alleged 13 ballistic missile launches since May, saying they violated Security Council resolutions and “undermine regional security and stability as well as international peace and security.”

The development comes amid stalled negotiations between North Korea and the US on the demilitarization of the Korean Peninsula.

North Korea and the US have been involved in on-and-off diplomacy since 2018. While their leaders have met three times, actual negotiations toward demilitarization have snagged.

The North has been under multiple rounds of harsh sanctions by the United Nations and the US over its nuclear and missile programs. In spite of those sanctions, it has taken several unilateral steps as signs of goodwill in the course of the diplomacy with the US. Washington has, nevertheless, failed to offer any sanctions relief in return.

Pyongyang has set the end of 2019 as the ultimate date until which the US would have time to take action so that diplomacy would come to fruition. Washington has rejected that timeline as artificial.