Posts tagged United Nations

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon receive credentials from newly-appointed Permanent Representatives to the United Nations:

DPRK takes Ulchi war games protest to UN


Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon receive credentials from newly-appointed Permanent Representatives to the United Nations:North Korea has taken its protest of the Ulchi Freedom Guardian war games to the United Nations.

Ja Song Nam, the DPRK’s ambassador to the U.N. sent a letter earlier this week to the president of the Security Council protesting the exercise, which is due to begin this weekend and involves thousands of troops in a large-scale computer simulation of a military action on the Korean peninsula.

Calling them “dangerous joint military exercises,” Ja wrote, “The United States-south [sic] Korea joint military exercises, including the ‘Ulji Freedom Guardian’, are by no means annual or routine exercises of a “defensive nature” but are real combat-like nuclear war games of aggression against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.”

“The ‘Ulji Freedom Guardian’ exercises, in particular, are the largest war games in the world. The military forces involved in its size and nature are enough to carry out a full all-out war with a purpose of occupying Pyongyang, capital of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, according to the war scenario drafted by the United States. This clearly shows the aggressive nature of the United States- south Korea joint military exercises against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.”

The letter included a statement from the DPRK’s Foreign Ministry issued earlier this week that protested the exercises.

But Security Council action could be a long time coming.

In his letter, Ja reminds the UNSC president that he asked the council on July 21 to discuss the exercises.

“The Security Council has so far ignored the request of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. This only exposes the partiality and irresponsibility of the Security Council, which is manipulated by the high-handed pressure of the United States, and which is against the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations,” he wrote.

Ja Song Nam, permanent representative of the DPRK to the United Nations

DPRK takes “The Interview” movie complaint to the UN

Ja Song Nam, permanent representative of the DPRK to the United Nations

Ja Song Nam, permanent representative of the DPRK to the United Nations

North Korea has taken its outrage over a new Hollywood movie to the United Nations.

Ja Song Nam, the country’s ambassador to the U.N., sent a letter to Secretary General Ban Ki Moon on June 27 with a copy of a Korean Central News Agency article that expressed displeasure at “The Interview,” a movie by Seth Rogen and James Franco.

The movie is described by its makers as an “action comedy” and has Franco and Rogen running a celebrity tabloid TV show.

“When they discover that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un is a fan of the show, they land an interview with him in an attempt to legitimize themselves as journalists. As Dave and Aaron prepare to travel to Pyongyang, their plans change when the CIA recruits them, perhaps the two least-qualified men imaginable, to assassinate Kim Jong-un.”

North Korea isn’t amused by the plot line.

“To allow the production and distribution of such a film on the assassination of an incumbent Head of a sovereign State should be regarded as the most undisguised sponsoring of terrorism as well as an act of war,” Ja said in the letter to Ban. “The United States authorities should take immediate and appropriate actions to ban the production and distribution of the aforementioned film; otherwise, it will be fully responsible for encouraging and sponsoring terrorism.”

North Korea puts out a fair amount of propaganda itself and isn’t shy about issuing threats to South Korea’s leader.

Letter from Ja Song Nam to Ban Ki Moon.

Letter from Ja Song Nam to Ban Ki Moon.

Here’s the trailer for the movie:

A new mother with her baby at the pediatric ward of City Hospital in Pyongsong City, South Pyongan Province, on May 20, 2014. (UN handout/NorthKoreaTech)

Latest UN images shows life in North Korean nursery, hospital


A visit to North Korea by the executive director of the UN World Food Programme this week has provided a glimpse inside a handful of state-run establishments that care for babies and new mothers.

The pictures, shot by the WFP on May 20, showed several stops on the visit by Ertharin Cousin, which lasted from May 19 to May 21.

The children in the images don’t appear to be suffering from some of the chronic malnutrition witnessed in the past in North Korea, but their ages are unclear and it’s not known whether the facilities were given notice of Cousin’s visit or the locations were selected by the government.

Cousin was in North Korea to gain a better understanding of the humanitarian needs and food security situation in the country and to see some of her organization’s work. The WFP produces specialized nutritious food and supplies it to children in hospitals, baby homes, nurseries and schools but its operations in the DPRK are only 24 percent funded.

“It’s important that we visited DPRK at this time because this is a program that is severely underfunded and the program is working to support pregnant and lactating women and children under two, particularly those in hospitals, nursery schools and orphanages,” Cousin said in comments in North Korea.

“When we are underfunded it means that we can not provide the nutritional food that is required on a consistent basis to ensure that we can deliver the outcomes that will change this children’s lives and provide the nutritional assistance that is required so that they can grow up healthy with the opportunity to live their lives to their full potential.”

During her visit, she went to a nursery and hospital in Pyongsong City, which is about 30 kilometers to the north of the capital city Pyongyang.

The images come from a video supplied by the WFP. Here’s the video, divided into two clips:

Sin Son-ho, DPRK Ambassador to the United Nations, speaks at a news conference on 24 January, 2014. (Paulo Filgueiras/UN)

DPRK UN ambassador takes questions, gives advice


It’s not often that a North Korean official faces a skeptical press corps and takes questions. Judging by Friday’s appearance at the United Nations by DPRK Ambassador Sin Son-ho, it’s even rarer that they provide answers to those questions.

Sin called a news conference at the U.N. in New York on Friday morning to announce North Korea’s proposal to lay steps towards “national reconciliation and unity” with South Korea.

His comments echoed those of North Korea’s National Defence Commission, which earlier in the day published the proposal through the state-run Korean Central News Agency.

A key demand is that the U.S. and South Korean cancel the Key Resolve and Foal Eagle military exercises that are due to begin in South Korea in late February.

Sin Son-ho, DPRK Ambassador to the United Nations, speaks at a news conference on 24 January, 2014. (Paulo Filgueiras/UN)

Sin Son-ho, DPRK Ambassador to the United Nations, speaks at a news conference on 24 January, 2014. (Paulo Filgueiras/UN)

Sin began by wishing U.N. correspondents a happy new year and spoke for just under 16 minutes before turning it over to questions.

Pamela Falk of U.S. TV network CBS was first up and as soon as she had finished her question, Sin turned his attention to another journalist and motioned for his question.

“Do you want to answer that one or take more than one?,” asked the next reporter.

“No, I’ll receive in [a] package, then give you [the] answer,” said Sin.

Two questions followed and then Sin spoke for 1 minute. But what followed wasn’t an answer.

“Thank you very much for raising such important questions,” he said. “I’ll take a long time if I explain all the questions you have raised, but I’ll give you my advice. You can find the answers from my briefing here,” he said motioning to the printed copy of his speech.

“Then you can find answers if you carefully read different media from my country, the Korean Central News Agency as well as the other media from my country. You can find out every detail that you want to know about the Korean situation, in particular regarding two very important proposals from the National Defense Commission that have been published on the 16th January, this month.”

“I thank you for your attention.”

And with that, he was done.

Here’s the entire news conference. The Q&A begins at the 16-minute mark and Sin’s “answers” at the 18-minute mark.

Below that is the statement from January 16, submitted by Sin Son-ho to the UN as an official document.


UN, US State Dept. react to execution of Jang Song Thaek


The United Nations Human Rights agency said it is following with concern news coming out of Pyongyang that Jang Song Thaek was executed this week.

“This underscores the arbitrary nature of the system in the DPRK and the absence of transparency and due process which is required for the rule of law,” said Ravina Shamdasani, a spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, in a briefing in Geneva.

In Washington, the U.S. State Department said the execution illustrated “the values of the regime, their low regard for human life, what’s probably one of the worst human rights records in the world.”

Here are clips of the two briefings:


UN to DPRK: Allow access to alleged prison camps


The chair of the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea called this week on the country to allow them access to areas of North Korea that are said to contain prison camps.

Speaking at a news conference in New York on Tuesday, Michael Kirby said, “We have asked for the permission to go and visit North Korea, to engage with its people. We have pointed out that the best way to respond to the contention that the testimony which has been recorded in our public hearings is false, would be to open those parts of North Korea which are said to contain the detention and prison camps of which the witnesses before us gave copious evidence.”

Kirby was speaking after the commission wrapped up a series of multi-city hearings on human rights in the DPRK.

“Some of the testimony has been extremely distressing; testimony concerning the detention facilities, the lack of proper food in them, the fact that there are people in the detention facilities who have committed no offense, no crime, according to their testimony, but who are simply there because of the notion of intergenerational guilt, which is a feature of the system in North Korea,” he said.

Here’s some video of the news conference:


DPRK registers satellite with UN


The DPRK has submitted registration papers for the recently launched Kwangmyongsong 3-2 satellite to the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs.

The papers were dated January 24 but were only made available this week by the Vienna-based organization. They were submitted by the DPRK’s diplomatic mission in the city.

They don’t provide any new information on the satellite, but are an important political step in North Korea’s continued instance that the launch was for peaceful purposes and that it’s abiding by international space conventions.

In this case, the OOSA’s registration convention calls on member states to furnish basic details about the launch including the time, launch site location and the parameters of the satellite trajectory.

You can see the entire document on the OOSA website.

In this case, the general function of the satellite was described as “Earth observation satellite for surveying crops, forest resources and natural disasters.”

It is the first time the DPRK has submitted launch registration papers for a satellite with the UN OOSA. That makes sense as it’s the country’s first successful space launch, but it serves to highlight previous propaganda claims that earlier launches were successful.

WFP video from Anju, Wonsan


In my daily monitoring of North Korean news and information I come across a wide range of material, much of it reported and posted by general-interest North Korean blogs like NK News or North Korean Economy Watch.

From time-to-time I come across something that isn’t so widely publicized, usually with a tech-angle that I post on here.

Over the weekend I was catching up on some North Korean reading and came across video released by the World Food Programme of recent conditions in Anju and Wonsan. There isn’t a tech-theme to the video, but it’s unlike much of what comes out of North Korea so I thought it would be worth posting.

The video was shot in late August and released in late September.

I’ve split it up into three parts. The first focuses on destroyed crops and mud in Anju.

The second video starts off at Wonsan Pediatric Hospital with shots of malnourished babies being treated and then jumps to Wonsan secondary School where Kim Gwang Song is taking a Revolutionary Studies class, according to WFP. The boy appears to be about eight years old but, as WFP notes, he’s actually a 13-year old.

At grade four. He has some hearing difficulty. He likes sports especially running. The subject he is most interested is the history, particularly the revolutionary history of Korea. He wants to be farmer when he grows up. He wants to do some good deeds for the father land. — WFP, Sept. 19, 2012.

The final video shows production of WFP biscuits for children at Munchon Biscuit Factory in Wonsan.

In addition to one truck (7mt of capacity) and a mill, WFP provides all the raw materials (i.e. wheat flours, minerals, vitamins, oil, sugar, salt and soda) and spare parts. The government provides workers, technicians and other running costs. The biscuits are fortified with vitamins and minerals which are essential for the mental and physical growth of a child. — WFP, Sept. 16, 2012.

It closes with Wonsan Kindergarten, where children receive four of the WFP biscuits each day.

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