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North Korea diplomats say U.S. to blame for nuclear issue

The envoys denounced the International Atomic Energy Agency for biased condemnations of its nuclear program.

By
Elizabeth Shim
North Korea’s diplomats to the United Nations held a press conference on Tuesday to protest a resolution of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Photo by Monika Graff/UPI
North Korea’s diplomats to the United Nations held a press conference on Tuesday to protest a resolution of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Photo by Monika Graff/UPI | License Photo

NEW YORK, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- North Korea diplomats at the United Nations accused the United States of creating the "nuclear problem" during an emergency press conference on Tuesday.

Pyongyang's Deputy Ambassador Kim In Ryong and Counselor Ri Song Chol told reporters the International Atomic Energy Agency's adoption of a resolution condemning North Korea's nuclear tests ignores reality, Radio Free Asia reported.

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"The [IAEA] position has been influenced by the hostile policy of the United States and is therefore biased and unfair," the diplomats said, according to RFA.

In September the IAEA's Director General Yukiya Amano had said North Korea's fifth nuclear test was a "clear violation" of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

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When asked about the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump, Ri said it does not matter who is president of the United States.

A diplomatic source at the U.N. who spoke anonymously said the purpose of the press conference was not simply to denounce the IAEA but to also express strong opposition to the discussion of North Korea human rights at the Security Council.

A U.N. General Assembly committee has said the North Korean leadership is the ultimate agent responsible for the violation of human rights in the country, which includes but is not limited to rape, summary executions and restrictions on the practice of religion.

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Pyongyang has also conducted dozens of ballistic missile tests and two nuclear tests in 2016.

In Seoul, the concern that North Korea could use the recent impeachment of South Korean President Park Geun-hye and the political transition in the United States as opportunities to engage in provocative behavior is growing.

South Korea's foreign ministry said Wednesday Seoul officials have been in close consultation with the current and future U.S. administrations, Yonhap reported Wednesday.

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