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Pyongyang condemns US criticism of human rights ahead of Korean summit

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY) – Pyongyang condemned the United States’ criticism of the human rights situation in North Korea, saying it was “ridiculous,” as the diplomatic movement before the two summits intensified between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Seoul and Washington.

In the latest announcement before the meeting between Kim and South Korean President Mon Jai on Friday in the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, US President Donald Trump called on North Korea to abandon its nuclear arsenal, describing its leader as “very open” and “very respectable.”

Seoul announced that Trump would deliver the results of the Korean summit by telephone immediately after the meeting, promising “close coordination” with Washington.

The north is accused of a series of human rights abuses from extrajudicial executions, torture, liquidation of dissidents and abduction of foreign nationals.

In its annual report on the human rights situation in the world in 2017, the State Department accused North Korea of ​​”flagrant human rights violations” ranging from public executions to systematic and general monitoring of its citizens.

In recent weeks, Pyongyang has shown an unusual reservation in its criticism of Seoul and Washington, and instead of launching its usual tough campaign against “American imperialists,” the North, in its wooing efforts toward the West, has been critical of behavior that “.

But he condemned the report, which “severely offends” North Korea.

Pyongyang described the United States as a “focal point” of human rights violations in which a culture of firearms such as “cancer” is rampant.

– Peace Treaty? –

North Korea’s official news agency said on Tuesday that Washington had established itself as a “human rights judge”. “It’s really ridiculous and it’s like a thief trying to arrest another thief.”

“The real goal (of the United States) is to dismantle countries that can not obey them and fabricate pretexts to exert political, military and economic pressures and abuses,” the agency wrote.

Moon will seek Friday to persuade Kim to give up his nuclear weapons to permanently dispel the tension on the Korean Peninsula.

The two leaders may also discuss the signing of a peace agreement that would put an end to the Korean War (1950-1953), which ended with a truce, as well as the resumption of reunions of war-torn families.

Moon told Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that he would also raise the problem of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korean agents to train Pyongyang spies on Japanese language and customs, a sensitive issue in Japan.

Pope Francis called on Wednesday to make the summit on Friday an opportunity to start a “transparent dialogue” and establish a “concrete course of reconciliation,” stressing that “the Holy See accompanies, supports and encourages” this meeting.

South Korean national security adviser Cheung Uy-young met his US counterpart John Bolton in Washington, Seoul reported.

The two advisers agreed on close coordination between the two sides and discussed the possibility of holding a meeting between the US and South Korean presidents before the historic meeting between Trump and Kim.

North Korean leader Trump’s flattery contrasts sharply with the insults and personal insults he addressed last year, describing him as a “rocket man” and vowing North Korea to “fire and anger.”

– Suspension of experiments –

But Trump said North Korea must “give up its atomic bombs.”

Since his arrival in power in late 2011, Kim has accelerated his country’s nuclear and ballistic programs sharply, and in 2017 Pyongyang carried out its strongest nuclear test to date, testing missiles that placed US territory in the crossfire.

On Saturday, Kim announced the suspension of nuclear tests and long-range missile launches, and announced the closure of the Bongrei nuclear test site.

However, experts at the 38 North Center reported that tunnel drilling activities were observed at the site until March and continued in early April, albeit with less intensity. “This may mean either that the tunnel has been completed and ready for new future trials, or that the slowdown Reflects current political changes “.

The third summit will be held on the southern side of the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas.

Trump repeatedly denounced the North’s human rights record in the past, rarely addressing the issue as the summit approaches.

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wa stressed that the issue would not be discussed.

Human Rights Watch called on Seoul to “review” its decision, saying the meeting was “a crucial opportunity for the long-suffering people of North Korea.”