US using human rights issue to draw concessions in nuclear negotiations: NK


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North Korea’s state-run newspaper on Monday lambasted the US, claiming that the country has been using the communist nation’s human rights conditions as a means to draw concessions in denuclearization talks between the two countries.

In a Korean-language commentary titled “Dissecting the US’ hideous intentions reflected in its complaints on human rights issues,” Rodong Sinmun mentioned the Human Rights Watch report released earlier this month, which had claimed there was widespread sexual violence against women in the isolated country. 

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (left) and US President Donald Trump (right). (Yonhap)

“The US is trying to draw concessions from us in the negotiations with us and furthermore trying to carry out an anti-republic plot that could overthrow the regime,” Rodong Sinmun said.

“The US claims that our nuclear issue serves as a hindrance to North Korea-US relations, but even if the issue should be resolved, it would continue to take issue with human rights and come up with other additional conditions so as to force us to change our system to their taste,” it added.

The newspaper also said that others shared the same view, citing an unnamed US expert who reportedly said that the final goal of the US’ human rights agenda with North Korea is to knock down socialism with anti-communism and the “revival of capitalism.”

The commentary demanded the US stop making such “useless” efforts, and instead act reasonably, considering the shift in both political and military dynamics between the two countries, and “our republic’s changed strategic status.”

The report comes amid rising concerns among the international community and US lawmakers over human rights violations in North Korea. With Democrats having taken control of the House of Representatives following the US midterm elections this month, analysts have said that the North’s human rights issue will come under greater scrutiny.

North Korea has been at the center of international concern regarding issues related to human rights violations for decades.

A United Nations panel on Nov. 16 adopted a resolution calling for accountability for human rights violations in North Korea. The UN Third Committee passed the document by consensus without a vote, and it is expected to pass the UN General Assembly next month for the 14th consecutive year.

Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, said in a press conference in Seoul on Nov. 1 that sexual violence is one of the most serious human rights violations in North Korea. He added that though it has yet to draw as much attention as prison camps and other abuses, it could still be an easy one to change.

By Jung Min-kyung (mkjung@heraldcorp.com)


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