North Korea takes helm of world disarmament body, countries express outrage
North Korea skipped the diplomatic niceties as it took the helm of the Conference on Disarmament declared.
Pyongyang’s ambassador, Han Tae-Songa, in a combative tone, declared, “My country is still at war with the United States.”
Around 50 countries have voiced their outrage that North Korea is being tasked with chairing the world’s most hyped multilateral disarmament forum for the next three weeks.
It is pertinent to state that the country is armed with nuclear weapons.
North Korea took over the rotating presidency of the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva on Thursday, as per a decades-old practice among the body’s 65 members. It follows the alphabetical order of country names in English.
Despite the automatic nature of the country’s presidency of the conference, dozens of non-governmental organisations urged countries to walk out of the room in protest.
Even though there was no dramatic exit, many nations opted to send lower-level diplomats, while the US, Britain, Australia, the EU, and South Korea, among others, took the moment to chastise Pyongyang over its ballistic missile tests and feared preparation for another nuclear test, the first since 2017.
“We remain gravely concerned about the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s reckless actions which continue to seriously undermine the very value of the Disarmament Conference,” the Australian ambassador, Amanda Gorely, said on behalf of the group of countries.
“The decision to remain in the room should not in any way be interpreted as tacit consent of North Korea’s violations of international law,” she said.
Pyongyang’s ambassador, who hosted Thursday’s meeting, merely responded: “The president takes note of your statement.”
State Department spokesman Ned Price said North Korea’s attitude called the body’s utility into doubt.
“It certainly does call that into question when you have a regime like the DPRK in a senior leadership post, a regime that has done as much as any other government around the world to erode the non-proliferation norm,” he said.