North Korea Threatens Retaliation Over Human Rights Office
kpride, May 29, 2015, 11:21 a.m.
North Korea threatened on Friday to retaliate against South Korea over the U.N.'s plan to open a Seoul office in order to monitor the North's dismal human rights records. The North will "mercilessly punish" South Korea by mobilizing all means possible if a U.N. office were set up in Seoul, the North's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea said in a statement carried by the country's official Korean Central News Agency.
The North condemned the envisioned U.N. office as an "unpardonable provocation" and "open declaration of war against it." The latest threat comes as the U.N. prepares to set up an office in Seoul by June in line with the adoption of a landmark U.N. resolution slamming Pyongyang's human rights situation.
It also came two days after South Korea, the U.S. and Japan agreed to ratchet up pressure on North Korea to get it to abandon its nuclear ambitions. Seoul's top nuke envoy hinted at using the North's human rights issue as one of the key tools for pressure on Pyongyang.
North Korea's human rights record drew global attention last year when the U.N. General Assembly adopted a landmark resolution calling for the U.N. Security Council to refer the country to the International Criminal Court. North Korea has long been labeled one of the worst human rights violators in the world. But Pyongyang has bristled at such criticism, calling it a U.S.-led attempt to topple its regime.