North Korean Ambassador to the United Nations Kim Song (L) has expressed opposition to Japan's membership at the U.N. Security Council. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
Feb. 5 (UPI) -- North Korea expressed "strong opposition" to Japan's entry to permanent membership in the United Nations Security Council last week, according to Pyongyang's foreign ministry on Tuesday.
In a statement published on the ministry's website, North Korea clarified its official position on Japanese candidacy on Jan. 29, at a meeting held at the U.N. headquarters in New York.
North Korea's Ambassador to the U.N. Kim Song said at the meeting Japan's history and lack of atonement for past war crimes are reasons why Tokyo should not be admitted to the Security Council, according to Pyongyang.
"In past decades, Japan invaded countless nations in Asia by force, and committed crimes against humanity that cannot be washed away," the North Korean diplomat reportedly said. "Seventy years after the end of war, they have not acknowledged" the past.
The North Korean ambassador also said the principles of respect for equality and non-interference are being ignored at the Security Council, a possible reference to sanctions against his country. He also said sovereign nations' rights are being violated.
"The reform of the U.N. Security Council should be carried out in accordance with the principle of ensuring international justice, fairness and democracy while guaranteeing the representation rights of non-aligned and developing countries," Kim reportedly said.
Japan is under consideration for two of the new permanent seats at the Security Council, along with India.
North Korea has previously called for sanctions relief that takes place before complete denuclearization.
On Tuesday, Pyongyang propaganda service DPRK Today said the United States must make a move following North Korea declarations.
North Korea has stopped nuclear tests and is working with the international community, the statement read.
"Our principle of no longer making or using nuclear weapons, nor proliferating them anymore is a faithful fulfillment of the June 12 joint statement" between the United States and North Korea.
U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to meet with Kim Jong Un before the end of February.