Ambassador blasts UN
North Korea’s ambassador told UN rights diplomats in Geneva to “mind your own business” before they voted on Friday to demand that the country face international justice for crimes against humanity likened to Nazi-era atrocities. UN investigators said last month that security chiefs and possibly Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un himself should be tried for ordering systematic torture, starvation and killings, saying the crimes were “strikingly similar” to those committed during World War II. The UN Human Rights Council in Geneva adopted a resolution, brought by Japan and the EU and backed by the US and South Korea, calling for the UN Security Council to hold to account those responsible. Some 30 states voted in favor, six were against, with 11 abstaining. During the debate, North Korean ambassador So Se Pyong rejected the resolution, saying: “Mind your own business,” and drawing laughter from delegates on the last day of a four-week session to examine violations worldwide.
Xi talks about S China Sea
Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) said on Friday his country would not act aggressively regarding territorial claims in the South China Sea, but was determined to safeguard its interests there. “On the issue of the South China Sea, we will not provoke trouble ourselves, but we will not fear troubles provoked by others, either,” he said in a speech during a visit to Berlin. “When it comes to our sovereignty and territorial integrity, we will strongly safeguard these interests,” Xi said. China’s claims over islands, reefs and atolls in resource-rich waters of the South China Sea have set it directly against Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines, while Brunei and Malaysia have made claims, too.
Arms deal aids air force
Manila has signed contracts worth US$527 million to buy 12 fighter jets from South Korea and four combat-utility helicopters from Canada to boost the capability of its air force, one of the weakest in Southeast Asia. Armed Forces chief General Emmanuel Bautista signed a contract with Korean Aerospace Industries on Friday for 12 FA-50 fighters worth 18.9 billion pesos (US$420.4 million) and another contract with Canadian Commercial Corp for four Bell 412 combat utility helicopters worth 4.8 billion pesos. Deliveries are to start next year. The fighter jets contract is the biggest deal so far signed under the military’s long-delayed modernization program.
Court stays trial of marines
India’s top court suspended legal proceedings on Friday against two Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen while it examines a plea challenging prosecutors’ jurisdiction in the case. The case has soured diplomatic ties between New Delhi and Rome, which last month recalled its ambassador to India to protest delays in the court proceedings. Friday’s court order was in response to a petition filed by the marines challenging the right of India’s National Investigation Agency to investigate the case. Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone are accused of shooting the fishermen off southern coastal Kerala state in February 2012 while serving as security guards on an Italian-flagged cargo ship. The pair, who have been staying at the Italian embassy in New Delhi while on bail, say they only fired warning shots.