UN meeting on NKorea rights record can­celed

Manila Times - - World -

UNITED NA­TIONS, New York: The United States has dropped a bid to hold a UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil meeting on North Korea’s hu­man rights record af­ter fail­ing to garner enough sup­port for the talks, diplo­mats said Fri­day (Satur­day in Manila).

The de­ci­sion to scrap the meeting held ev­ery year since 2014 also comes as the US is seek­ing a sec­ond sum­mit be­tween Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

North Korea had writ­ten to coun­cil members last month to urge them to block the US re­quest for the meeting that shines a spot­light on Py­ong-

The US has, ev­ery year since 2014, gar­nered the nine votes needed at the coun­cil to hold the meeting, de­spite op­po­si­tion from China.

eight coun­tries sup­ported the US re­quest this year, with non­per­ma­nent mem­ber Ivory Coast re­fus­ing to bow to pres­sure to lend its back­ing.

China, which has strong ex­pand­ing ties in Africa, has ar­gued that the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil is not the venue to dis­cuss hu­man rights as a threat to in­ter­na­tional peace and se­cu­rity.

raised in the Geneva- based Hu­man Rights Coun­cil.

Ev­ery year, China has re­quested a pro­ce­dural vote but failed to de­rail the meeting due to the nine “yes” votes se­cured by the U.

this year,” a diplo­mat

Se­cu­rity Coun­cil told AFP. “Cote

added, us­ing the of­fi­cial name of Ivory Coast.

The meeting had been ten­ta­tively set for Mon­day.

A US of­fi­cial how­ever sug­gested the meeting could still take place at a later date, but not in De­cem­ber, when Ivory Coast holds the monthly ro­tat­ing pres­i­dency of the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil.

“If we are un­able to hold this im­por­tant dis­cus­sion this month, we hope to re­visit hold­ing this meeting in the new year,” said the US of­fi­cial.

“We con­tinue to be­lieve that dis­cus­sions on hu­man rights — and par­tic­u­larly con­cern­ing hu­man rights abuses in North Korea — are a cru­cial part of the main­te­nance of in­ter­na­tional peace and se­cu­rity and wor­thy of the UN Se­cu­rity

North Korean Am­bas­sador Kim Song last month told coun­cil members in a let­ter that crit­i­cism

record would “swim against the cur­rent trend” of rap­proche­ment and “stoke con­fronta­tion.”

A his­toric sum­mit be­tween Trump and Kim in June opened up di­a­logue on de­nu­cle­ariza­tion of the Korean penin­sula be­tween the two coun­tries af­ter months of mil­i­tary threats.

A sec­ond sum­mit is ex­pected to be held next year, but North Korea has taken few con­crete steps to aban­don its nu­clear and bal­lis­tic mis­sile pro­grams.

The Se­cu­rity Coun­cil has slapped a se­ries of tough eco­nomic sanc­tions on North Korea over its nu­clear tests and bal­lis­tic mis­sile fir­ings.

The US main­tains that UN sanc­tions will re­main in place until North Korea has fully scrapped its weapons pro­grams.

A land­mark 2014 re­port by a UN Com­mis­sion of In­quiry doc­u­mented hu­man rights abuses on an ap­palling scale in North Korea, de­scrib­ing a vast net­work of prison camps where de­tainees

- tion and sum­mary ex­e­cu­tions.

The re­port ac­cused leader Kim Jong Un of atroc­i­ties and con­cluded that he could be pros­e­cuted for crimes against hu­man­ity.

re­port as a fab­ri­ca­tion, based on tes­ti­mony from dis­si­dents liv­ing in ex­ile.

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