N Korea denounces US’ statement on human rights abuses

Pyongyang [North Korea]: North Korea on Saturday came down heavily on the recent statement made by the US on human rights abuses in the reclusive state, claiming it was “nothing but a sophistry” and an attempt to “tarnish” Pyongyang’s image.

“The press statement of the US State Department is nothing but a sophistry full of falsehoods and fabrications, which stems from a sinister political purpose to tarnish the dignified image of the DPRK,” North Korea’s state media, Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said citing Yonhap News Agency.

On May 6, the State Department issued the statement on North Korea’s human rights issues to mark ‘North Korea Freedom Week’, which falls on the last week of April each year.

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“For decades, the regime in North Korea has subjected its people to egregious violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Approximately 100,000 individuals languish in political prison camps and their family members and children often suffer by their sides. Further, those trying to flee this oppressive environment, if caught, are often tortured or killed,” the Department’s statement said.

“We remain gravely concerned and deeply troubled by these abuses. We continue to work with the international community to raise awareness, highlight abuses and violations, enhance access to independent information, and promote respect for human rights in North Korea,” it added.

Continuing to chide the US, North Korea claimed that Washington does not want to improve bilateral ties with Pyongyang, and want to “destroy” the regime by labelling the communist nation in the list of human rights abuses.
“The latest release of a press statement by the US State Department is clear evidence that the present administration follows in the footsteps of the previous administrations in regard of the policy hostile to the DPRK,” the KCNA said.

“Although the U.S. is making desperate and foolish efforts to bring us down by clinging to the ‘human rights’ racket along with the ‘maximum pressure’ aimed at destroying our system, it should bear in mind that such an attempt will never work against us but instead push us dynamically to a direction where the U.S. does not want to see,” North Korea’s state media further said.

Negotiations between the US and North Korea have hit a roadblock over the ease of sanctions, where Pyongyang sought relief as a recognition of the steps taken towards denuclearisation.

Washington has, until now, reinforced that relief in sanctions would only be given after Pyongyang carries out “complete and verifiable” denuclearisation.

North Korea, which carried out two tests of firing projectiles earlier this week, is largely being seen as the country’s displeasure at the breakdown of the second US-North Korea summit in Vietnam in February.

The meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ended abruptly without any joint statement issued as the two sides reportedly failed to resolve their differences on sanctions waivers.
On Thursday, Trump had said that “nobody was happy” on North Korea’s latest launch of projectiles within this week and they are looking at the matter “very seriously.”


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