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N Korea Holds UN Presser, Inner City Press Asks of Pence in DMZ, If Guterres Has Answered

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 17 – When North Korea's mission to the UN held a press conference on April 17, its stated topic was the upcoming April 28 UN Security Council session featuring US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Inner City Press asked North Korea's Deputy Permanent Representative Kim In Ryong about US Vice President Mike Pence's visit to the DMZ, and if there has been any response to the Mission's letter to the UN they cited in their last press conference on March 13. No, nothing (fast transcript of rest of press conference below). Minutes later Inner City Press asked UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric agian about the letter, he refused to answer, typically. Here's an transcription of the rest of the DPRK press conference: "I would like to clarify the viewpoint of my government about the briefing of the Security Council, which is usurped by the United States using its presidency of the Security Council. The US ambassador, during her remarks about the work of the SC, has announced that the Security Council would hold a briefing under the pretext of non-proliferation of the DPRK on the 28th of this month. It will be presided over by the US secretary of state.I categorically reject the briefing as another abuse of authority and violation of DPRK sovereignty of the Security Council. As everyone knows, now the US perpetrates military attacks on sovereign states. The recent US attack on Syria. The US is disturbing peace and security and insisting on gangster-like logic. The US introduced in South Korea, the world’s biggest hotspot, a huge nuclear asset, pushing the situation to the brink of war. Nuclear war may break out at any minute on the peninsula, and pose a serious threat to peace and security. The situation on the Korean peninsula is often in doubt. The United Nations, and the Security Council, is now covering up for the high-handedness of the US. Ignorance of justice and international law. The DPRK, in accordance with article 34 35 of the UN charter, made the request for an emergency meeting of the Security Council about the military exercises on the Korean peninsula. While disregarding our request for an emergency meeting of the exercises, which is a root cause for aggravating tensions, this same Security Council is planning to convene a meeting on the nuclear behavior of the DPRK. This is a double standard, injustice.
The US takes issue with the right to defensive measures by the DPRK, by adopting sanctions resolutions. The UNSC brands legitimate exercise of sovereignty as illegal, and calls measures for self-defense provocations, while some countries are allowed to conduct tests undeterred. The US and UN Security Council have kept mum about their tests, while cooking up brigandish allegations about North Korea.
It is very clear the briefing planned by the US, its purpose is nothing but to justify the aggressive war climate against the DPRK.
US has used its double standards against countries who aspire to independence, with a different social system. This is utter disregard for the international system in pursuit of hegemony. The nuclear weapon states are improving their forces in quality and quantity. It is inevitable for the DPRK to have access to a nuclear deterrent, for self-defense, as it is always exposed to the direct nuclear threat of the US.
The road we have chosen for self-defense is the road for our existence and safeguarding our future. They reflect the determination of the people and army of the DPRK. The DPRK has never recognized the unreasonable resolutions adopted by the Security Council. The US reckless move to invade the DPRK have reached a serious stage.
If the US dares opt for military options, the DPRK is ready to react to any mode of war desired by the Americans. DPRK was entirely just when it increased its military capability of self-defense. The Trump administration is trying to do something of the DPRK by deploying strike means, trumpeting about peace by strength. But the DPRK remains unfazed. We will take tough counter action against provocateurs. We will hold the US accountable for the catastrophic results of its actions. The schemes to bring down the socialist DPRK will result in increased military muscle. I hope the journalists present here are paying attention to the nuclear issues on the Korean peninsula with a correct understanding on its root causes.

Q and A:Are you planning anything on April 28? And, what kind of counter-actions are you planning? Nuclear test? Launch?
[Inner City Press asked questions about Mike Pence’s visit to South Korea and the DMZ and DPRK's letter to the UN; others asked of plans for a nuclear test; China's position on DPRK; negotiations on nuclear disarmament]
 I’ll give you the answers in a package.The Trump administration policy on DPRK, well, the DPRK policy shaped by the Trump administration is the first to put intense pressure and sanctions, and keep tactical nuclear weapons deployed in South Korea, and launch military action aimed at beheading the leadership of DPRK. The Trump administration has added the threat of blackmail against DPRK [by launching the attack on Syria]. As we already clarified, all the brigandish provocations of the US, in the political and military and economic forms, will be met with the toughest counter-action of the army and people of the DPRK.
The US has to come to its senses. The army and people of DPRK will counter those who encroach on the dignity and sovereignty of the DPRK with Korean-style tough counter-actions.
As far as convening the briefing of the UNSC, we have already rejected the program itself. This is an abuse of the SC mandate. The object of this meeting is a clear impurity.
About the test-fire: Our missile test is part of the normal course which we go through. It is part of the normal process to building up self-defense capability, in order to defend our right to existence and safeguard peace on the peninsula.
As far as another nuclear test, it was already known who to the public. It is something that our headquarters decided at the place where our headquarters deem necessary, it will take place.
We proposed to the UN secretariat to hold a meeting to clarify the legality of the UNSC. We have no response. As far as the journalists, the Chinese proposal – the dual power approach – this is the first phase. A look at the history of DPRK and US relations, a rolling back of the US hostility towards the DPRK is the precursor to solve the problems in the Korean peninsula. Since our nuclear position is the product of the US hostile policy, it’s not an issue to be taken on the negotiating table. The formula is not new. We oppose the discussion mixing the two issues. As far as the Chinese proposal on halting military exercises, the US refused the Chinese proposal on the same day as soon as China set it forth. In 2015 DPRK made a proposal about crucial steps for the US to create a peaceful environment."

  With tension mounting around North Korea, the nation's founder's 105th birthday passed with highly synchronized parade in Pyongyang, amid news Kim Jong Un wants at least 600,000 people to evacuate the city. USS Carl Vinson is in Korean waters. Then on Sunday morning there came news of a missile launch failure, from Sinpo. But in testing such weapons, failures are necessary. Nothing yet from the UN; Secretary General Antonio Guterres has nothing on his public schedule on Monday, April 17 either. Froms the US: "The President and his military team are aware of North Korea's most recent unsuccessful missile launch. The President has no further comment." We'll have more on this. Back on March 13 when North Korea held a press conference at the UN, they said they've asked UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to organize an international forum of legal experts about what they say is the illegality of UN Security Council sanctions on them, but that Guterres has not replied.

  Minutes later Inner City Press asked Guterres spokesman Stephane Dujarric, a holdover from the UN's Ban Ki-moon era, about DPRK's request to Guterres. Dujarric said he wasn't aware of it but would check. Inner City Press specifically asked to be informed one way or another. From the UN transcript:

Inner City Press: just a few minutes ago, the delegation of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) talked about a request they made to António Guterres to organize an international forum of legal experts on the sanctions against them by the Security Council, and they say there's been no answer.  Are you aware of the request?

Spokesman:  I mean, I just… I was listening as I was preparing for the briefing.  We'll follow up on what was said.

Inner City Press:  Okay.  And can we find out whether there…?

Spokesman:  We will, of course, find out.

Inner City Press:  Okay.  But, will you tell us?

Spokesman:  Depends what we find out.

   Four hours later, nothing from Dujarric's office except another announcement of a meeting of a group to whom Dujarric "lent" the UN Press Briefing Room from which for whom Dujarric evicted Inner City Press, see this UN "note verbale" to the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, at Paragraphs 9-10.

   In the press conference before the day's noon briefing, Inner City Press asked if North Korea could foresee any role for Guterres (as the Securty Council's president for March Matthew Rycroft said on March 8) but the duo didn't answer that question, nor Inner City Press' request for a comment on the court ruling in South Korea finally impeaching President Park (Ban Ki-moon, still desperate to be relevant, did comment.) They denied killing Kim Jong Nam and said they will continue bolstering self-reliance capability for preemption with nuclear force. Then they left.

   The UN Security Council met on the morning of March 8 after North Korea fired more missiles. Afterward Council president Matthew Rycroft of the UK alluded to a role for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. But when the Ambassadors of South Korea, the US and Japan came out together, as before under Samantha Power, they did not answer the Press question about a role for the UN Secretary General. It is theater, some say, doing these meetings in the UN. These are questions we will pursue.

   On the evening of March 7, the UK and Japan tweeted that a Council Press Statement had already been issued. The UN Spokesperson's Office didn't send it out until 50 minutes later, still UNexplained.

 On March 7, the UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq denied to Inner City Press that the UN statement on the launch labeled "amendment" was, in fact, an amendment. Video here.

At the March 6 noon briefing, Inner City Press asked the UN spokesperson, "I just wanted to know whether you have a comment yet on the missile firings by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea." Spokesman Farhan Haq replied, "we deplore the continued violation of Security Council resolutions by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, including the most recent launches of ballistic missiles.  The DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] leadership should refrain from further provocations and return to full compliance with its international obligations.  And if we have any further reaction or statement later in the afternoon, of course, we'll share that with you as it happens, but we're evaluating the situation as of right now."

  But after this answer to Inner City Press, apparently there was a rethink. Later the UN Spokesperson's Office sent out an "amendment" which dropped the word "return," thusly: "The Secretary-General reiterates his call for the DPRK leadership to refrain from further provocations and comply fully with its international obligations." No more "return." Who complained?

 On March 7, Inner City Press asked Haq about the change, and got only denial and obfuscation. From the UN transcript: Inner City Press: on DPRK.  Yesterday, I’d asked you about the missile launches and you said… I’ll look it up.  You said somehow… there was a line you said that… that the call was to return to full compliance with its international obligations.  And then, later, there was a written statement, sort of amending that without using the word “return.”  So I just wanted to understand, what… what came between the two?  Did somebody complain about the use of the word “return”?  Is it the UN’s position… you sent out an amended statement yesterday.  So I’m wondering, just what… what triggered the amendment?

Deputy Spokesman:  The amended statement… if you compare the two statements, there’s a very small difference in the words, basically because it’s believed that the wording as it was amended was somewhat more precise.  It’s not because of an amendment.  Basically, the wrong draft… the two drafts were very similar, and the wrong draft was posted, and we quickly caught that and put the right draft up.

Inner City Press: But I’m actually going… I’m talking about the transcript of yesterday’s briefing, was it similar to the first one that was put out?  And I just… there’s a substantive thing behind it.  I wanted to know, is it the UN amending itself to say that they were never in compliance and so to call to a return to compliance is wrong…? That’s the word that’s missing.  [inaudible]

Deputy Spokesman:  No, no.  It’s nothing like that.  When I came to the briefing, I didn’t have a statement.  I knew that a statement was coming up down the line, but I didn’t have that language to go on, and so the language came later in the day.

  Ironically, later in the briefing, Haq returned to using the word "return." Watch this site.

North Korea denounced that "U.S. imperialists and the south Korean puppet warmongers kicked off joint military exercises for aggression against the DPRK." In the UN lobby on the morning of March 6, a North Korean diplomat asked Inner City Press, what is more threatening, these four missiles or the US aircraft carriers?

 Now Inner City Press has published DPRK's letters to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, on abductions, here, and to the UK as UNSC President, here.

On the evening of March 6, the US Mission to the UN said that "[f]ollowing the request by Japan and the United States, consultations on Non-Proliferation/DPRK will take place during the morning of Wednesday 8 March. At the request of the SRSG, Syria consultations will now take place at 3pm on Wednesday, rather than at 10 am."

 The North Korea launch and request came while the UN Security Council, at least most members, are in Nigeria. They are set to meet in New York on Wednesday, March 8 about Syria - and now, North Korea. Will a Press Statement come faster and more detailed, given the argument that these launches make China more angry as they tend to justify the THAAD deployment China opposes? As Inner City Press first reported, the new North Korea sanctions report by the UN Panel of Exports, which Inner City Press puts online in full here, lists not only weapons sales to Egypt and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and cites Sudan and Sri Lanka - but also has this on Nigeria, which the UN Security Council is currently visiting: "Malaysia-Korea Partners Group of Companies lists as one of its mainactivities overseas construction, including of statues, in Africa. The company’s promotional video states that its 'formula for success is a powerful mix of Malaysian products and Korean labour and technology.' One of the company’s construction projects is the renovation of the embassy of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in Nigeria." Note 195.

  The Security Council and the correspondents invited to cover its trip didn't in Cameroon address the abuse of Anglophones in that country. Will they be checking in on this other issues ostensibly of so much concern?

 Sudan was removed from some UN sanctions just before January 21. From Paragraph 106: "the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea supplied 100 122-mm precision guided rocket control sections and 80 air attack satellite guided missiles (AGP-250, for ground attack) to Sudan Master Technology Engineering Company in two contracts of 29 August 2013, worth €5,144,075 and signed by reported KOMID president Mr. Kang Myong Chol (alias Pak Han Se), using a reported KOMID front company, Chosun Keuncheon Technology Trade Company. The Member State provided travel information on KOMID officials responsible for the contracts. The Sudan has not responded to the Panel’s enquiries."

In paragraph 103 of the report is it recounted that "a diplomat of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea named Mr. Kim Hyok Chan, and another Angola-based diplomat named as a Green Pine representative, Mr. Jon Chol Young, traveled together to Sri Lanka three times (between 2014 and 2016) to discuss shipbuilding projects. Described as boat-building experts, they reportedly met with the State Minister of Defence of Sri Lanka on 5 November 2015 to discuss building naval patrol vessels at a Sri Lankan shipyard prior to sale to its navy. The Panel has yet to receive a reply from Sri Lanka."

   More than 24 hours after North Korea's missile launch, and that government calling it a success, Japan's Mission to the UN tweeted that it had requested an urgent UN Security Council meeting along with South Korea and the United States.

  And even before the meeting a Press Statement was agreed to. Sweden tweeted it first; Inner City Press asked the Council's president for February Ukraine to confirm it was agreed before the meeting and they did.

  Inner City Press asked Japan's Ambassador Koro Bessho if any member had brought up the THAAD missile deployment by the US in South Korea. He told Inner City Press to ask the country it thinks may have raised it. Watch this site.

  While that meeting took place, this from US Ambassador Nikki Haley on the North Korean Missile launch: “We call on all members of the Security Council to use every available resource to make it clear to the North Korean regime – and its enablers – that these launches are unacceptable. It is time to hold North Korea accountable – not with our words, but with our actions.”

  Under Samantha Power, the US Mission was selective in how it doled out information, and ignored the UN's eviction and ongoing restriction on the Press which reports on UN corruption.  This should be changing, but hasn't yet. Watch this site.

After North Korea conducted its last  nuclear test, the UN Security Council met on September 9 and issued a Press Statement.

  Inner City Press asked South Korea's then-Ambassador Oh Joon (who went on to support Ban Ki-moon's failed campaign for South Korea's presidency) if the THAAD deployment didn't in some sense escalate things. Pressed, Oh Joon said, “China's nuclear deterrence doesn't have anything to do with this issue.”

Now on November 30 a new resolution passed 15-0 (full text on Scribd here), after the US election, with the Obama administration and US Power and Mission in lame duck status.

Both China and Russia spoke against the deployment of the THAAD system in South Korea. But even the word wasn't mentioned in the three questions pre-picked by Samantha Power's spokesman (Reuters, Kyoto, KBS), much less in the answers. More was said of South Korean Ambassador Oh Joon flying to Korea tonight - to work on a Ban Ki-moon presidential campaign? Inner City Press asked, but it was not answered at the end.

Ban Ki-moon came to speak, which he doesn't do on other countries - essentially, video for a run for President of South Korea. US Samantha Power, when she mentioned the ban on monuments sales, cited only Robert Mugabe and Laurent Kabila, not those of other US allies.

Afterward at the stakeout, asked by KBS what chance these new “statue” sanctions have of stopping North Korea, Power made dubious analogies to sanctions not only on Iran but also South Africa and Serbia. It's a problem from hell, including these unfettered journalists who want to ask non pre-picked questions...

  But it'd be “prohibiting member states from buying North Korean made statues. The DPRK has developed a cottage industry building statues in numerous African states, mostly via the Pyongyang-based Mansundae Art Studio. Mansudae’s work can be seen in Cambodia, Angola, Benin, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, and Togo.”


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