UN Security Council ministers are to meet on Dec. 15 to discuss North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, and the body is also to meet separately this month to discuss human rights abuses in the North Asian country, an annual meeting that its ally China has tried to prevent for the past three years.
Japanese Permanent Representative to the UN Koro Bessho, president of the 15-member council for this month, said several ministers were confirmed to attend the Dec. 15 meeting.
He added that the meeting on human rights in North Korea could be held on Dec. 11.
China has unsuccessfully tried to stop three previous human rights meetings by calling a procedural vote. A minimum of nine votes are needed to win such a vote, and China, Russia, the US, Britain and France cannot wield their vetoes.
This year’s meeting has the backing of nine members — the US, France, Britain, Italy, Japan, Senegal, Sweden, Ukraine and Uruguay.
Last year, the US angered Pyongyang by blacklisting North Korean leader Kim Jong-un for human rights abuses.
A landmark 2014 UN report on North Korean human rights concluded that security chiefs — and possibly Kim himself — should face justice for overseeing a state-controlled system of Nazi-style atrocities.
Michael Kirby, chairman of the UN Commission of Inquiry that drew up the report, said at the time that the crimes the team had cataloged were reminiscent of those committed by the Nazis during World War II.
“Some of them are strikingly similar,” he told reporters.
North Korea has repeatedly rejected accusations of human rights abuses and blames sanctions for a dire humanitarian situation. Pyongyang has been under UN sanctions since 2006 over its ballistic missile and nuclear programs.
“Despite persistent sanctions and pressure by the US and other hostile forces, my government concentrates all its efforts on improving people’s livelihood and providing them with a better future,” the North Korean Permanent Mission to the UN said in a statement on Nov. 14.
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