North Korea, U.S. clash at disarmament forum

UNTV News   •   January 23, 2018   •   4480

FILE PHOTO: North Korea’s ambassador to the United Nations Han Tae Song attends an interview with Reuters at the Permanent Mission of North Korea in Geneva, Switzerland, November 17, 2017. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

GENEVA (Reuters) – North Korea said on Tuesday it had a “powerful and reliable” nuclear deterrent to thwart any attack and accused the United States of deploying military assets nearby under the pretext of ensuring security at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

“This is a dangerous act of throwing a wet blanket over the current positive atmosphere of inter-Korean relations … which could drive again into an extreme phase of confrontation,” Han Tae Song, North Korea’s Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, said.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Monday a thaw in relations between the two Koreas ahead of next month’s Winter Olympics presented a “precious chance” for the United States and North Korea to discuss the North’s weapons programs.

North Korea is developing missile and nuclear technology amid regular threats to destroy the United States and Japan and in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Han, addressing the U.N.-sponsored Conference on Disarmament, said nuclear tests last year had allowed his country to “perfect a national nuclear force” in a transparent manner.

“Thus DPRK (North Korea) at last came to possess a powerful and reliable war deterrent,” he told the Geneva forum.

“I am proudly saying that DPRK’s nuclear force is capable of frustrating and countering any nuclear threats from the U.S. and it constitutes a powerful deterrent that prevents the U.S. from starting an adventurous war.”

Han said as a “responsible nuclear power” North Korea could not resort to using the weapons unless hostile forces violate its sovereignty or interests.

U.S. disarmament ambassador Robert Wood said: ”The United States will not recognize North Korea as a nuclear weapon state.

“If the North wishes to return and be in the good graces of the international community, it knows what it has to do, it has to take steps toward denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.”

In an earlier speech on Tuesday, United Nations disarmament official Izumi Nakamitsu welcomed an easing of tensions between North and South Korea but called for further steps toward removing nuclear weapons from the divided peninsula.

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Robin Pomeroy and Janet Lawrence

UN condemns ‘escalating violence’ after 18 died in Myanmar anti-coup protest

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 1, 2021

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), more commonly known as the United Nations Human Rights Office, has condemned the ‘escalating violence’ in Myanmar after 18 were killed during an anti-coup protest on Sunday (February 28).

In a statement, Secretary-General António Guterres said he is “deeply disturbed by the increase in deaths and serious injuries.”

“The use of lethal force against peaceful protestors and arbitrary arrests are unacceptable,” he added.

Guterres also urged the international community “to come together and send a clear signal to the military that it must respect the will of the people of Myanmar as expressed through the election and stop the repression.” -AAC

UN warns against harsh treatment of protesters in Myanmar

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 16, 2021

The United Nations (UN) has warned Myanmar’s military for its harsh treatment of protesters, saying that the “world is watching closely.”

In a press briefing, UN Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq said that UN Special Envoy on Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener has called on the Myanmar military to refrain from using violence and respect human rights.

“The right of peaceful assembly must fully be respected, and that demonstrators are not subjected to reprisals. She has conveyed to the Myanmar military that the world is watching closely, and any form of heavy-handed response is likely to have severe consequences,” she said.

Protests across Myanmar have grown after the military takeover on February 1 where top political leaders were arrested.

Several of the high officials detained include State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint.  

There are also reports that the military use excessive force against the demonstrators.

According to the UN human rights office (OHCHR), as of February 12, more than 350 political and state officials, activists, and civil society members have been taken into custody. Several members of the media, monks, and students were also detained

“Several face criminal charges on dubious grounds, and most have received no form of due process or permitted legal representation, family visitations or communication,” according to the UN.

Burgener also reiterated UN Secretary-General António Guterres’s statement and called for a visit to Myanmar under agreeable conditions. -AAC

UN condemns military takeover in Myanmar

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 1, 2021

UN Secretary-General António Guterres

The United Nations (UN) condemned the military takeover in Myanmar and the detention of top political leaders and government officials.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said the developments in Myanmar “represent a serious blow to democratic reforms” in the country. Among those detained include State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint.

The detentions and the seizure of power took place on the eve of the opening session of Myanmar’s new parliament.

The coup followed brewing tensions between the government and the military in the aftermath of last November’s general elections.

The Aung San Suu Kyi-led National League for Democracy (NLD) claimed an overwhelming victory in the polls, securing over 80% of the seats. However, the military and several political parties disputed the results and alleged that the polls were marred with irregularities.

Guterres reiterated that the November 8, 2020 general elections “provide the clear will of the people of Myanmar to continue on the hard-won path of democratic reform.”

“The Secretary-General urges the military leadership to respect the will of the people of Myanmar and adhere to democratic norms,” the statement reads.AAC

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