NORTH BLAMES SOUTH, U.S. FOR MUR­DER

Both coun­tries are try­ing to tar­nish Py­ongyang’s im­age and bring down its so­cial sys­tem, says en­voy

New Straits Times - - News -

NEW YORK

ON Mon­day, North Korea tried to shift the blame for the deadly at­tack in Malaysia on the es­tranged half-brother of its leader, Kim Jong-un, to the United States and South Korea.

Its deputy am­bas­sador to the United Na­tions, Kim In-ry­ong, said “from A to Z, this case is the prod­uct of reck­less moves of US and South Korean au­thor­i­ties”.

He said they were try­ing to tar­nish the North’s im­age and bring down its so­cial sys­tem.

Malaysian au­thor­i­ties said Kim Jong-nam died af­ter two women smeared his face with the banned VX nerve agent at klia2 on Feb 13, but North Korea, which was widely sus­pected to be be­hind the at­tack, re­jected the find­ings.

In-ry­ong said the cause of Jong-nam’s death “has yet to be clearly iden­ti­fied, but US and South Korean au­thor­i­ties are ground­lessly blam­ing the DPRK”, us­ing the ini­tials of the North’s of­fi­cial name, the Demo­cratic Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Korea.

Malaysian au­thor­i­ties had iden­ti­fied the vic­tim as Jong-nam, though he was us­ing a North Korean pass­port un­der the name Kim Chol.

Like other North Korean of­fi­cials, In-ry­ong re­ferred to Jong­nam only as Kim Chol and did not say he was Kim Jong-un’s half­brother.

He asked why the per­son who ap­plied the VX agent, which was fa­tal even if a tiny amount was in­haled, was alive, while the man it was ap­plied to died.

The am­bas­sador as­serted that the US was one of the few coun­tries that could man­u­fac­ture VX and that it had stock­piled chem­i­cal weapons in South Korea, which could have pro­vided the chem­i­cal agent for the at­tack on Jong­nam.

“It is a fi­nal aim sought by the US to store up the in­ter­na­tional re­pug­nancy to­wards the DPRK. ,” In­ry­ong said of the at­tack, with the in­ten­tion of pro­vok­ing a “nu­clear war against DPRK at any cost”.

“The US and South Korea are start­ing the po­lit­i­cal chi­canery to bring down the so­cial sys­tem in DPRK.”

In-ry­ong said the DPRK would re­spond by con­tin­u­ing to bol­ster its de­fences “and the ca­pa­bil­ity for the pre-emp­tive strike with a nu­clear force”.

He held a press con­fer­ence at the UN head­quar­ters here af­ter North Korea boy­cotted a UN Hu­man Rights Coun­cil meet­ing in Geneva, which was ad­dressed by its spe­cial rap­por­teur on hu­man rights, Tomas Ojea Quintana, in the north­east Asian na­tion.

Ojea Quintana told the coun­cil that ten­sions due to the North’s bal­lis­tic mis­sile and nu­clear tests were jeop­ar­dis­ing ef­forts to im­prove hu­man rights in the se­cre­tive coun­try.

“Mil­i­tary ten­sions have brought hu­man rights di­a­logue with the DPRK to a stand­still.” He pointed to con­cerns about the “hu­man cost of sanc­tions” by the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil that had aimed to block the coun­try’s ac­cess to bal­lis­tic and nu­clear weapons tech­nol­ogy.

In-ry­ong re­it­er­ated the DPRK’s claim that the six pro­gres­sively tougher sanc­tion res­o­lu­tions im­posed af­ter the coun­try’s mis­sile and nu­clear tests were il­le­gal.

He ac­cused the UN Sec­re­tariat of fail­ing to re­spond to a DPRK re­quest nearly three months ago to or­gan­ise a fo­rum of le­gal ex­perts to clar­ify the le­gal grounds for the sanc­tion res­o­lu­tions.

In-ry­ong re­it­er­ated claims that the US and South Korea were con­duct­ing joint mil­i­tary drills “for real war aimed at a pre-emp­tive nu­clear strike against the DPRK by mo­bil­is­ing... strate­gic as­sets and armed forces”.

On whether the DPRK was open for talks with the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion, ei­ther bi­lat­er­ally or through a re­sump­tion of the six­party nu­clear dis­ar­ma­ment talks, which had been stalled since 2009, In-ry­ong did not re­ply.

How­ever, the mis­sion’s spokesman Jo Jong-chol later said: “We are not in­ter­ested in any talks... which aims to make the DPRK aban­don its nu­clear pro­gram.

“We re­gard the lift­ing of the (US) hos­tile pol­icy to­ward the DPRK as the fun­da­men­tal is­sue to ad­dress all is­sues... be­tween the two coun­tries.” AP

Mil­i­tary ten­sions have brought hu­man rights di­a­logue with the DPRK to a stand­still. TOMAS OJEA QUINTANA United Na­tions spe­cial rap­por­teur on hu­man rights in North Korea

AFP PIC

North Korean deputy am­bas­sador to the United Na­tions, Kim In-ry­ong, at a press con­fer­ence at the UN head­quar­ters in New York on Mon­day.

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