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North Korean, Japanese Diplomats Confront Each Other at U.N. Committee Meeting

North Korean, Japanese Diplomats Confront Each Other at U.N. Committee Meeting

Posted March. 17, 2005 22:51,   


Japan: “[We] hope that a resolution condemning North Korean human rights will be adopted this year, too.”

North Korea: “Japan is economically rich, but morally poor.”

Representatives of North Korea and Japan engaged in a direct confrontation at a senior officials’ meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Committee located in Geneva, Switzerland on March 16.

North Korea focused on past Japanese crimes against humanity, and Japan focused on North Korea`s human rights situation.

The following are some major excerpts:

Itsunori Onodera, Japanese Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs:

Japan firmly believes that human rights are a universal right. Nations which do not make any effort to enhance human rights will become alone in the international community. North Korea is not showing sincerity in resolving the Japanese abductee issue and is also not cooperating with the activities of the U.N.’s human rights special reporter.

Choi Myong Nam, Ambassador to the Permanent Mission of North Korea to the U.N.:

Japan is not qualified to discuss another nation’s human rights issues. Japan violated human rights in the Korean Peninsula for over 40 years. Japan abducted Koreans and forced Korean females to serve their troops as comfort women. This history of human rights violations can never be compared to the Japanese abductee issue.

Shotaro Oshima, Japanese Ambassador to Permanent Mission to the U.N.:

[North Korea’s] Japanese abductions are not a matter confined to the victims’ families or Japan. It is a grave worry of the international community. The Japanese government has been clearly expressing its position regarding history issues. It is unnecessary to talk it over.

Ambassador Choi:

Japan has been tampering with the DNA test results on the Japanese remains that we returned. Unless Japan takes responsibility for the human rights crimes it committed in the past, it will never be a responsible member of the U.N. Security Council.

Sha Zukang, Chinese Ambassador to the Permanent Mission to the U.N.:

This year, we celebrate the 60th anniversary of victory in World War II. More than 10 million Chinese were brutally killed by the Japanese in that war. This is history. No one will ever forget Japan’s crimes against humanity. History’s lessons serve as a guide to the future, and oblivion of history is a betrayal. Japan should learn to face its history as Germany did. If it does not, it will not be able to show the greatness of a big country.

Hyong-gwon Pu bookum90@donga.com