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China Fails to Block UN Meeting on North Korea Human Rights

Chinese Deputy Ambassador Wu Haitao said the council's discussion of rights abuses in North Korea was "counterproductive" at a time when tensions are running high on the Korean peninsula.

AFP

Updated:December 12, 2017, 5:06 PM IST
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China Fails to Block UN Meeting on North Korea Human Rights
The United Nations logo is displayed on a door at U.N. headquarters in New York. (File photo/ Reuters)
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United Nations: China on Monday failed to block a UN Security Council meeting on the human rights crisis in North Korea as Pyongyang already faces international condemnation over its missile and nuclear tests.

Chinese Deputy Ambassador Wu Haitao said the council's discussion of rights abuses in North Korea was "counterproductive" at a time when tensions are running high on the Korean peninsula.

During a procedural vote, the council decided by a vote of 10 in favor with three against -- China, Russia and Bolivia -- to allow the meeting to go ahead. Egypt and Ethiopia abstained.

At least nine countries must back a contested agenda item for it to be discussed at the Security Council and the veto does not apply.

US Ambassador Nikki Haley said human rights should be discussed more often by the top UN body as a way to bolster conflict prevention.

"Any country that does not take care of its people ends up in conflict," said Haley.

The United States, Britain, France, Sweden, Italy, Japan, Senegal, Ukraine and Uruguay had requested the meeting, the fourth to be held since 2014.

China, North Korea's ally, has sought every year to block any discussion of human rights in North Korea, arguing that the Human Rights Council in Geneva was the forum for those concerns, and not the Security Council.

North Korea conducted its sixth nuclear test this year and test-fired a series of advanced missiles, including intercontinental ballistic missiles, even as 18 million North Koreans, or 70 percent of the population, are struggling with food shortages.

Pyongyang is accused by a UN commission of inquiry of running a vast network of prison camps, resorting to torture, arbitrary detentions among other widespread abuses.

The UN's top political affairs chief, Jeffrey Feltman, returned at the weekend from a visit to Pyongyang, the first by a such a high-ranking UN diplomat since 2010.

Feltman met North Korea's Foreign Minister Ri Yong-Ho and Vice Foreign Minister Pak Myong-Kuk and they "agreed that the current situation was the most tense and dangerous peace and security issue in the world today", a UN statement said.
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