UNITED NATIONS (AP) — North Korea on Tuesday denounced U.S.-led plans for an open Security Council meeting on its human rights record as “despicable” and only aimed at achieving Washington’s geopolitical ambitions.
Vice Foreign Minister Kim Son Gyong called the United States a “declining” power and said if the council dealt with any country’s human rights, the U.S. should be the first “as it is the anti-people empire of evils, totally depraved due to all sorts of social evils.”
The United States, which holds the Security Council presidency this month, scheduled the meeting on human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, North Korea’s official name, for Thursday.
It will be the first open council meeting on the DPRK rights issue since 2017. U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield told reporters last week that U.N. human rights chief Volker Türk and Elizabeth Salmon, the U.N.’s independent investigator on human rights in the reclusive northeast Asia country, would brief council members.
The Security Council “must address the horrors, the abuses and crimes being perpetrated” by North Korean leader Kim Jong Il’s regime against its own people as well as the people of Japan and South Korea, Thomas-Greenfield, flanked by the ambassadors from Albania, Japan and South Korea, said when making the announcement.
Nate Evans, the spokesperson for the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, responded to Kim Son Gyong’s remarks by reiterating that North Korea’s ongoing human rights violations and abuses “go against the very principles of the U.N Charter and are directly linked to Pyongyang’s unlawful weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs.”
“North Koreans are suffering while the DPRK regime diverts a large share of its budget and resources to weapons development,” Evans said in a statement to The Associated Press.
Russia and China, which have close ties to North Korea, have blocked any Security Council action since vetoing a U.S.-sponsored resolution in May 2022 that would have imposed new sanctions over the North’s spate of intercontinental ballistic missile launches. The council therefore is not expected to take any action at Thursday’s meeting.
China and Russia could protest holding an open meeting, which requires support from at least nine of the 15 council members, but U.S. officials have said the meeting will take place.
Kim, the DPRK’s vice minister for international organizations, warned countries “blindly following the U.S.” to “behave themselves properly.” And he called on all council members “to take a correct stand and attitude,” and said they should understand that the real U.S. intention “has nothing to do with the universal conception of human rights protection and it is only for realizing its narrow-minded and hegemonic geopolitical purpose.”
Kim also warned that North Korea would “resolutely counter any hostile act of the U.S. threatening peace and security on the Korean peninsula and the rest of the world and absolutely defend the sovereignty of the state, the supreme human rights, and the interests of the popular masses.”