Japan, Others Denounce N. Korea's Human Rights Abuses

Politics

New York, Dec. 9 (Jiji Press)--Thirty-one countries including Japan, the United States and South Korea on Friday issued a joint statement denouncing human rights abuses in North Korea such as its abductions of Japanese nationals decades ago.

The North Korean regime's ongoing human rights violations are "inextricably linked with the country's unlawful and destabilizing weapons program," said the statement, which was adopted before the U.N. Security Council had informal talks the same day on the human rights situation in the reclusive nation.

The country's repressive political climate allows a coercive system of governance that diverts resources to weapons development "even as North Korean citizens suffer from severe economic hardship and malfunction," it said, adding, "These human rights violations threaten international peace and security."

Expressing "concern" over "abductions and enforced disappearances" of Japanese and South Korean citizens, and other nationals "who are kept against their will" in North Korea, the 31 countries said "we strongly urge" North Korea to "resolve all outstanding issues with detainees, abductees and disappeared, and immediately return them to their homes."

Since 2014, the U.N. Security Council has been discussing human rights issues in North Korea every year except 2018 and 2019, when the administration of then U.S. President Donald Trump sought to make progress in talks with North Korea on the denuclearization of the East Asian nation. This year's talks were held at the request of the United States and Albania.

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