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After US Event About North Korea, DPRK Holds One in UN, Transcribed

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 7 -- Two weeks after the US hosted an event about human rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea on September 23, without inviting North Korean diplomats, the DPRK held its own event in the UN on October 7:

Briefing on the report of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Association for Human Rights Studies  (organized by the Permanent Mission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) From 11:00 to 12:15, in Conference Room 6.

  There, most of the questions were asked by Japanese media. Here's from DPRK's opening statement:

..As you know, in these times there is an increasing tendency towards a human rights campaign against the DPRK in the field of human rights, and there is a proliferation of distorted truths and misinformation on the state of human rights in the DPRK. The most recent example is the so-called North Korea human rights high-level meeting last September 23 outside the UNGA meeting, attacking the DPRK’s so-called human rights situation right in this part of the world, New York. Today’s briefing is focusing on correcting misinformation being proliferated in the world and to make a contribution to considerable understanding towards the socio-political situation, the values in the DPRK, and as you know, out of UN membership 193 countries, every country has different values, different social systems, different ideals. It is exactly the same case with the DPRK. This human right field should be served to further understanding between different systems.
In this report, it is covering 109 page long, and 5 chapters. I will touch the key points in one of five. It is introducing the ideological basis and development and evolution of human rights mechanism in the DPRK. Second chapter is covering the legal and practical steps for protection and promotion of human rights. Third chapter is covering position and struggle of the DPRK for promotion and protection of human rights at international level. And chapter 4 is covering the major obstacles in the way of protection and promotion of human rights. And fifth chapter is covering the importance of making our human rights mechanism a perfect one. ...

For the last 6 decades US has been persuing policies of hostile towards DPRK. And enforced political, military and economic blockade, most brutal one throughout the world. In 1991, DPRK entered United Naitons as a sovereign state, and it was followed by an establishment of historical bilateral diplomatic relations, and majority of the UN membership recognized the sovereignty of the DRPK by establishing diplomatic relations. It is only United States who is resisting to recognize DPRK as a sovereign state so far. If you look at the relationship between the two countries, the two countries are technically at war. Since 1953, Korean war came to a ceasefire. Until this point in time DPRK has been consistently proposing ot replace the ceasefire mechanism with peace mechanism. But US has been consistently rejecting and turning down this proposal. Until now, what US has been doing on the Korean peninsula is the consistent pushing with joint military exercises in South Korea...

Regarding the prison camps that have just been referred to, actually we do know in the so-called meeting for North Kroean human rights that was organized by the United States and South Korea on the 23rd, outside of the UNGA, they were referring to the DPRK’s prison camps. But during the past years we have again and again stated, we made it very clear in our interavtive dialogue during the second cycle of the UPR that was done on the first of may, in Geneva, there is no prison camps in our country. Nothing, no provision in the DPRK’s legal instrument. That’s why in practice there’s no prison camp, no things like that. In law and in practice we do have a reform through labor detention camps, no, detention centers whereby people improve their mentality and they are reformed through labor. That’s the center. That’s what we call reform through labor detention center. And that’s existing in my country and not prison camps. We have made it clear, and I reiterate.

  The US' September 23 event was at the Waldorf Astoria. The speakers were the US' Robert King, then John Kerry, then an articulate escapee, the foreign ministers of South Korea and Japan and finally UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Prince Zeid of Jordan.

  Afterward Inner City Press asked Zeid if it was he who brought the blue UN flag to the event which was not in the UN and did not play by the UN rules of "right of reply." He laughed, graciously. The bombing in Syria had begun only the night before.

  Back on August 25 when North Korean deputy ambassador Ri Tong Il held a UN press conference inside the UN, he described his government's August 18 letter to the UN Security Council requesting an emergency meeting about the US - South Korean joint military exercises, Ulchi Freedom Guardian.

  On August 20, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's first letter arose in Security Council consultations. As Inner City Press reported that day, the Council's president for August Mark Lyall Grant of the UK said that China had raised the issue of the letter, asking for other members' views. He said no further action or consideration of the letter is expected.

   After Ri Tong Il on August 25 said no response had been received, Inner City Press asked him if, beyond what Lyall Grant said at the stakeout, a formal letter should have been sent.

  Citing a US military web site which lists 10 other countries involved in UFJ, including the UK and France, Inner City Press what about the other countries in the joint military exercises, are they just a fig leaf?

  Ri Tong Il answered the second question first saying that the US never gives troup numbers, and that every time the US is talking about troops, under pretext of exercise they bring in nuclear weapons, aircraft carrier George Washington, B52, Tomahawk missiles. And they have all related weapons. And now concerning number of troops, over half a million. You can see, they are ready to move at any time. With full capacity. Plus, over 40,000 civilian population of South Korea. This is a full scale war exercise and the word ewcercise is not proper one. They are fully ready since they have been holding them annually.
 On the letter(s), Ri Tong Il said concerning the response from the UNSC, we in the name of the Permanent Repressentative presented a formal request addressed to His Excellency Grant, and in established practice of protocol whatever answer should be addressed to us. They’re not showing any respect even for the protocol. They should reply.

  Inner City Press immediately asked the UK Mission to the UN, whose spokesperson Iona Thomas quickly replied, "On the letter, it is my understanding that there is no requirement to respond to such requests in writing.  As the Ambassador said at the stakeout on Wednesday, there was no support in the Council for discussing the issue."

  Perhaps burying the lead on August 25 Ri Tong Il said, "The entire army of DPRK is closely watching. DPRK will conduce the most powerful pre-emptive nuclear strike against the US since the US openly decleared it would use so-called tailored deterrents. As long as the US exposes its intention to remove the government of Pyongyang, the DPRK responds the same way by making out conter-actions on a regular basis."

  Back on August 1, Inner City Press asked Ri Tong Il if he had asked for the letter to be formally circulated, or would North Korea take it to the General Assembly?

  Ri Tong Il replied that it is not a question of approaching individual countries, but a formal request to the Security Council. Inner City Press inquired with the mission of Rwanda, July's president, and got a copy of the letter and the response that there was no consensus for holding the requested emergency meeting. Inner City Press has put the letter online here.

  Also, at the bottom of this page is a fast transcript of the press conference, by Inner City Press & the Free UN Coalition for Access.

Inner City Press also asked Ri Tong Il for an update on his mission's announcement thirteen months ago that it sought the end of the so-called “UN Command” in South Korea. Ri Tong Il said his country remains opposed to it:

On UN command, the DPRK is consistently insisting on the dismantling of UN Command in South Korea. This is a UN body but not under the direction of the UN, it is not under the approval of its budget. If you look at the inside nature, 100 percent US troops. This is a typical example of position of power by the US. It should be dismantled. And we are raising it to the UN on a regular basis.

  Later on August 1 Inner City Press asked Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman for Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, if Ban has received North Korea's letter complaining about the Seth Rogen film “The Interview.” (Inner City Press has commented on the letter, here.). Dujarric said the letter has been received, but Ban has no response.

  Ban, of course, was South Korea's foreign minister. His c.v. or biography, including for a recent op-ed about Haiti (where the UN brought cholera and then has dodged accountability), states that Ban previously served as “Director of the UN’s International Organizations and Treaties Bureau.”

 Other iterations say he was director of the “UN’s International Organizations and Treaties Bureau in South Korea, Seoul” (here). So was that really a UN (or “UN's”) agency? Or is is like the UN Command? Watch this site.

Footnote: In Ri Tong Il's press conference, the UN Correspondents Association demanded the first question, and gave it to a representative of a media from Japan - another representative of which took a second question, before other media got even one. While both are genial, this is how UNCA, a/k/a the UN's Censorship Alliance, works.

The new Free UN Coalition for Access is opposed to any set-asides or automatic first questions. Also, despite the continued censorship of the question, the Free UN Coalition for Access believes that at a minimum the UN should disclose “in kind” (or gift) private jet travel for Ban Ki-moon paid for by a state. We'll have more on this. Watch this site.


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