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At UNESCO After US Pull-Out, Japan Has Leverage to Block Comfort Women Docs

By Matthew Russell Lee, Text here on Patreon

UNITED NATIONS, November 1 – When UNESCO's Manos Antoninis took questions on October 26, Inner City Press asked him how the Paris-based agency is responding to the United States leaving it. He responded, diplomatically perhaps, with praise of some in the US, those who root out climate change denial from school curriculum. Inner City Press previously exclusively reported on an emergency conference call convened by the Department of Public Information, though Antonio Guterres' spokespeople have refused to confirm it, as they refuse even to say where Guterres is. But at UNESCO, the pull-out of the US gives the spotlight and leverage to the agency's second biggest funder, Japan. And Japan has effectively used it. Previously the country withheld dues to try to block the registration of documents about its actions in Nanjing, China. But "Documents on the Nanking Massacre” were, in fact, registered. This year, with the additional leverage, the fight was about documentation of so-called comfort women or sex slaves the Japanese military took in World War II. South Korean foreign ministry spokesman Noh Kyu-duk said last week,"Our government is working on the listing with the basic attitude that a lesson should be learned from the comfort women issue." But on November 1, UNESCO's International Advisory Committee declined to act, postponing the decision. Yoshihide Suga, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary, called it the "proper action." South Korea's Foreign Minister under former Ban Ki-moon UN official Kang Kyung-wha expressed regret and said, "We will continue possible diplomatic efforts to make the records on comfort women objectively and fairly evaluated going forward." Good luck.  In the pie in the sky world of the UN's Disarmament Committee, various resolutions on the "total elimination of nuclear weapons" were put to a vote on October 27. Japan's long-time resolution L35, "United action with renewed determination toward the total elimination of nuclear weapons" was put over from October 26 to October 27. (On the 26th in front of the UN Security Council, Inner City Press asked Japanese Ambassador Koro Bessho if it would come up that afternoon; he told Inner City Press, "I think it is delayed a little." In fact, it was for a whole day. But before it came up, North Korea denounced it as a product of “Japan's sick and impure political purposes” and said that particular paragraphs “jeopardize our supreme interests.” Egypt, too, said it would abstain as the draft focused on the duties of non-nuclear states. When the resolution came up for a vote "as a whole," it passed with 144 voting Yes, four No and 27 abstentions. And the voting on other resolutions, including on the dumping of radioactive waste," continued. There would be a Halloween party later, in the Ex-Press Bar, for money. While North Korea's diplomats might not be there, one finds it hard to believe recent quotes about never seeing the North Koreans. They show up at many receptions, sometimes complimenting the quality of the food. We'll have more on this. When North Korea's Deputy Ambassador Kim In Ryong appeared in the UN Disarmament Committee on October 16, his written text said “As long as one does not take part in the US. military actions against the DPRK, we have no intention to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against any other country.” But it seems he did not read it out loud. Inner City Press got the written text, and notes that in the UN, whose chairing meetings often ask speakers to deliver only a part of their written speeches, and turn in the rest for the record. So Inner City Press publicly asked the UN General Assembly President's spokesman whether this North Korean statement should be considered official or not. The PGA Spokesman after 5 pm e-mailed Inner City Press this answer: "In the General Assembly, only the portions of statements that are read aloud form part of the verbatim record. The verbatim record is then considered to be an “official record” of the United Nations. Delegations can distribute longer written versions of their statements, but those do not form part of the verbatim or “official” records of General Assembly meetings." We'll have more on this. The UN's North Korea sanctions list was expanded by four ships, including the Jiu Shun recently outed by the Washington Post as carrying thousands of rocket propelled grenades to Egypt. See listing quietly added to UN Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee website, here. Recent Inner City Press asked the Committee's chair, Sebastiano Cardi of Italy, if there was any discussion in the Committee of North Korean arms sales to the UAE or Egypt and he said no. Now, this listing. We'll have more on this. Days after the UN Security Council banned textile exports from North Korea, the country fired another missile over Japan's Hokkeido. On September 23, North Korea's Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho delivered this speech in the UN General Assembly hall, then came to meet UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, USg Jeffrey Feltman and others. There was a photo op, well attended by wire services and largely Japanese and some South Korean photographers - and Inner City Press. Saturday Periscope video here. Then on Monday September 25 Ri held a press encounter - no questions, just two statements - in front of the One UN Hotel / Millennium Hilton. Inner City Press streamed Periscope, here. He said, all options are on the operations table. Inner City Press asked the North Korea Mission to the UN if the international legal conference they have been asking for was discussed; the North Korean Mission to the UN told Inner City Press its “Foreign Minister raised that issue during the meeting. He also told UNSG to be most impartial, not to take one-sided.” We'll see. Back on September 21, this speech in the UN General Assembly Hall, by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, as transcribed in English by Inner City Press: "The situation on the Korean peninsula is now a focus of international attention. The 19 September this year, that is two days ago, marks the 12th  anniversary of the 2005, September 19 joint statement of the 6 party talks. At that time, the 6 parties, China, the United States, Russia,  DPRK, RoK and Japan, with China being the chair, made concerted efforts, the two main parties concerned, the US and DPRK made the decision, and we had formulated the roadmap for denuclearization of the peninsula. The DPRK undertook to abandon its nuclear programs, and the US undertook to normalize its relations with the DPRK. All parties committed to setting up a peace mechanism for the peninsula. The statement opened up new vistas for regional peace and stability. 12 years have passed. Some think things have changed on the peninsula and the statement has become outdated, but we believe things following the progressing trend of the times never become outdated, and decisions on the right track never become obsolete. If there is any change, anything we need now, it is denuclearization that is more comprehensive, more thorough, and more irreversible. There should be no new nuclear weapon state whether it is in the north or the south of the peninsula, whether it is in Northeast Asia or other parts of the world. We urge the DPRK not to go further on a dangerous direction. We call ont eh US to honor its four no commitment, and we call on all parties to play a constructive role in easing tensions.  There is still hope for peace and we must not give up. Negotiation is the only way out. Parties should meet each other halfway by recognizing each other’s legitimate concerns. In China’s view, the day when the denuclearization of the peninsula is realized should also be the day when a peace mechanism is established. China is always a force for peace. We have made tireless efforts for a peaceful resolution on the Korean peninsula. Whatever changes may take place, however long it may take, China will stay firmly committed to denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and to regional peace and stability." Back on September 15 Russian Ambassador Nebenzia said, as transcribed by Inner City Press: "we made a statement, a press statement by the president of the Security Council condemning the recent launch, calling on the DPRK to stop it, and also, which is important, reiterating the need for political and diplomatic solution of the crisis, early... We’re discussing that we’re in a vicious circle. We have a provocation, a resolution, then another provocation. Many people raised the issue that we have to think outside the box.  There is the China Russia road map of the 4th of July, which is at the moment the only political proposal on the table... Take away this morning’s Secretary of State Tillerson’s statement, our  American colleague said that Russia and China should quickly implement the sanctions measures provided for in 2375. To which we said that we are responsible members of the international community and we honestly implement resolutions that we adopt in the Security Council but this resolution also provides for political measures that should be implemented equally in that sense we called on our US partners and others to implement the political and diplomatic solutions that are provided for in the resolution and without implementing this we also will consider it as non-compliance with the resolution, not fully implementing the resolution. We were considering what elements we might include in a resolution that would be on a political side.. One way or another, we are including them in the resolutions we have already adopted. We would possibly like more. We’ll see what happens. I think people are keen to discuss it during the high level -- one way or another it will come up, both in the debates and in the meetings. We think that threats, tests, launches should be stopped and we should engage in meaningful negations. Many serious American actors are saying there is no way but to sit at the table and come to think how to resume the six party talks. I think it was Madeline Albright who was referring to it recently and some others as well. There are serious analyses in the American press of the issue, which came out in the last few days before we adopted resolution 2375. Many people around the world understand that there’s no alternative to this in the end."  US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson the day before said, "North Korea's provocative missile launch represents the second time the people of Japan, a treaty ally of the United States, have been directly threatened in recent weeks. These continued provocations only deepen North Korea's diplomatic and economic isolation. United Nations Security Council resolutions, including the most recent unanimous sanctions resolution, represent the floor, not the ceiling, of the actions we should take.  We call on all nations to take new measures against the Kim regime. China supplies North Korea with most of its oil. Russia is the largest employer of North Korean forced labor. China and Russia must indicate their intolerance for these reckless missile launches by taking direct actions of their own." When Nikki Haley spoke on North Korea's hydrogen bomb test in the UN Security Council on US Labor Day, she called for a vote on new sanctions on Kim Jong Un's government on September 11. They passed 15-0, after reducing the cut into North Korea's oil and dropping a proposal travel ban and asset freeze on Kim Jong Un. Now on September 14 North Korea has fired another missile, right over Japan's Hokkeido. And the UN was holding... a fashion show, in its General Assembly lobby, introduced by its new head of "Global Communications" who has yet to even respond to emails about her Department's imposition of UN minders on the independent Press. We'll have more on this. Back on September 11, spinning on background, a US official familiar with the negotiations said, before the vote, that "Kim Jung Un doesn’t have that many assets that are out there and vulnerable anyway." Now you tell us. On September 6, the US draft came out, saying it would among other things BAN oil exports to North Korea (see language below); CNN is still using that term (but see new draft and language below). The vote is slated for 6 pm on September 11; mid morning when Inner City Press asked Italy's Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi about the oil provisions, he said he wouldn't comment on the "details." Video here. At 3 pm, French Ambassador Francois Delattre said "The bottom line is simple: the threat of DPRK has changed in scope, scale, and its very nature. We’re facing not a regional but a global threat, which unites us. We fully support the resolution proposed by the US. We think it’s a robust resolution, a needed step towards the firmness I was just referring to. Our deep belief is that only a firm reaction of the Council can open the path to a political res. Our firm attitude today is the best antidote to the risk of war. I think the conditions are met to go for a vote. We completely support the resolution as it is. By definition this is a compromise to get everybody on board. We believe we have a  strong, robust resolution and it is a needed and important step with respect to the firmness that is the condition for a political solution tomorrow." On their way in to the morning Security Council meeting on Colombia the Ambassadors of the UK and Sweden spoke to the press. The UK's Matthew Rycroft said, This afternoon on North Korea we will be voting on a draft of the US circulated last night, it’s a very robust resolution and the UK supports it wholeheartedly. [Watered down?] "It’s called negotiations, and that’s what we do. There’s a significant pride in keeping the Security Council united, and I hope today’s vote will be united. The version on the table is strong, robust." Sweden's Olof Skoog said, "We certainly support the draft as it stands now." The US proposed asset freezes on five individuals including Kim Jong Un and seven entities; now it's one person (not Kim Jong UN) and three companies. On oil, here is what the September 10 revised draft says: "Decides that all Member State shall not supply, sell, or transfer to the DPRK in any period of
twelve months after the date of adoption of this resolution an amount of crude oil that is in
excess of the amount that the Member State supplied, sold or transferred in the period of
twelve months prior to adoption of this resolution, unless the Committee approves in advance on a case-by-case basis a shipment of crude oil is exclusively for livelihood purposes of DPRK nationals and unrelated to the DPRK’s nuclear or ballistic missile programmes or
other activities prohibited by resolutions 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), 2094
(2013), 2270 (2016), 2321 (2016), 2356 (2017), 2371 (2017) or this resolution; (New)" And here was the US original draft: "Ban exports of crude oil, condensate, refined petroleum products, and natural gas liquids tothe DPRK: Decides that all Member States shall prohibit the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer to the DPRK, through their territories or by their nationals, or using their flag vessels or aircraft, and whether or not originating in their territories, of all crude oil, condensates, refined petroleum products, and natural gas liquids; (New)." Would Russia, for one, vote even for this? Haley had at the begin of the September 4 meeting recounted 24 years of history. (Inner City Press asked UK Ambassador Matthew Rycroft on his way in about Myanmar and the Rohingya, here.) Russia's Ambassador Nebenzia called Haley's an "excursion" into history and reiterated his country's and China's freeze for freeze proposal. China's Liu Jieyi said, as transcribed by Inner City Press: "The Chinese government resolutely opposes and strongly condemns the nuclear test of the DPRK in violation of the UNSC resolutions. Achieving the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and maintaining the nuclear non-proliferation system and peace and stability in Northeast Asia, this is the firm stance of the Chinese government…we strongly urge the DPRK to face up swuarely to the firm will of the international community on the issue of the denuclearization of the peninsula and earnestly abide by the resolutions of the council…The situation of the peninsula is deteriorating constantly as we speak, falling into a  vicious circle. The situation must be resolved peacefully. China will never allow chaos and war on the peninsula. The parties concerned must strengthen their sense of urgency…take practical measures, make joint efforts together to ease the situation, restart the dialogue and talks, and prevent further deterioration of the situation on the peninsula. The proposal by China and Russia of a 2 track approach, which promotes the denuclearization of the peninsula and establishment of a peace mechanism in parallel, the suspension for suspension initiative, which calls for the DPRK to suspend its nuclear and missile activities and for the US and the RoK to suspend their large scale military exercises and step by step concession from Russia are the basis on which brought countries jointly proposed a road map to resolve the issue.…we hope the parties concerned will seriously consider this and actively respond to it. China calls upon the International Community to jointly and comprehensively and fully implement the relevant resolutions of the SC on DPRK, firmly push forward the goal of denuclearization of the peninsula, and maintain peace and stability on the peninsula." Earlier, Haley said, "Kim Jong Un's abusive use of missiles shows he is begging for war. War is never something the US wants. But our patience not unlimited.... The idea  of "freeze for freeze" is insulting. When an ICBM is pointed at you, do not lower your guard. Enough is enough. The incremental approach has not worked. We must "quickly enact the strongest sanctions here in UNSC. We have kicked can down road long enough. There is no road left." Two days before today's reported North Korean nuclear test, incoming UN Security Council president for September Tekeda Alemu of Ethiopia held a long press conference at the UN and only mentioned North Korea once, per the UN Department of Public Information's summary, here. Will the Security Council and its president still leave New York for five days?
This as some on the UN Security Council, and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres or at least his spokesman Stephane Dujarric have no problem with or comment on the UN's own World Intellectual Property Organization helps North Korea with a patent application for social cyanide (WIPO site here).  On Capitol Hill on June 28, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) urged US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley to act on WIPO, including its retaliation against whistleblowers. Haley spoke about reviewing peacekeeping missions, which is needed - as is a review and reversal of the UN's lack of protections for free press, and continued restrictions on investigative Press. At the day's UN noon briefing Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN Transcript here. The UN Secretariat also backed up WIPO on May 26 when Inner City Press asked, transcript here and below. Inner City Press on May 16 began to ask US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley about it (video here). On May 17, Nikki Haley replied to Inner City Press' question: "All parts of the UN system need to support the Security Council in its efforts to respond to the grave threat of North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction programs. Sodium cyanide is banned for export to North Korea by the Security Council. A common sense reaction would be for WIPO to inform the Council of such patent applications. Its failure to do so may have dangerous consequences.” Inner City Press on September 1 asked Ambassador Alemu four questions, including on Burundi (on the Council's agenda) and the Oromo Protests, a major human rights issue. Video here. But when the UN Department of Public Information wrote up the press conference, it did not even MENTION Burundi, much less the Oromo protests. See UN document here. What is wrong with UN DPI, a corrupt UN Department which spends $200 million a year in public funds, but doe not even has any rules, content neutral or otherwise, on how it accredits and/or restricts the independent press which covers the UN? Where is the new head of DPI, Alison Smale?   In response to Inner City Press asking why Burundi, where even the UN says there is a risk of genocide, is not on his September Program of Work nor on the agenda of the Council's visit to Addis Ababa, Alemu on September 1 - not covered by the UN - said that you can't compare Burundi to Central African Republic, that Burundi has “strong state institutions.” But it is that very “strength,” which some say the country shares with Ethiopia, and with until recently military-ruled Myanmar about which Inner City Press also asked, that has led to the human rights violations. In this context, Inner City Press asked Alemu about the Oromo protests - and crackdown - in his country. He diplomatically chided Inner City Press for not having asked in private, saying that social media has played a dangerous role. Meanwhile the UN brags about its (propaganda) social media work. We'll have more on this. Alamy photos here.

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