North Korea rights record likely to be off the table at summit

SEOUL: South Korea’s top diplomat said North Korea’s human rights record is unlikely to be discussed at this month’s summit, after Pyongyang denounced the South for supporting a fresh UN resolution against the North.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and the South’s president Moon Jae-in are due to meet for a rare inter-Korean summit on April 27.

But Pyongyang’s state media condemned South Korea on Tuesday for its “dubious double dealing”, after Seoul welcomed a new United Nations resolution against North Korea’s human rights violations.

Such action could jeopardise future dialogue, the North warned.

“This is an open political provocation to the DPRK and an intolerable act of chilling the atmosphere for dialogue,” the North’s official KCNA agency said yesterday.

It added: “Whom are they going to hold dialogue with and whom are they going to improve relations with while denying the dignity and social system of the dialogue partner?”

South Korea’s foreign minister Kang Kyung-wha said Seoul maintains a “firm stance” against the “dire human rights situation” in the North but that the prospect of Moon discussing it with Kim this month was unlikely.

“In order to enhance dialogue, the topics that both sides have agreed upon will be discussed,” Kang told reporters. “So to include it in the agenda of the dialogue, the government will need more preparation,” she said. — AFP

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