NORTH BLAMES SOUTH, U.S. FOR MURDER
Both countries are trying to tarnish Pyongyang’s image and bring down its social system, says envoy
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
North Korean deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Kim In-ryong, at a press conference at the UN headquarters in New York on Monday.