DPRK state-run media on Friday condemned the Trump administration for its criticism of the country’s human rights record, breaking an extended period of silence on the issue in the aftermath of last month‘s Singapore summit.
The North’s Uriminzokkiri outlet – widely seen as outer-track media not for domestic consumption – urged the U.S. to stop “provoking and ridiculing a counterpart.”
“The U.S. recently continuously adhered to the ‘human rights’ racket and pressure against the DPRK as follow-up meetings between the DPRK-U.S. have proceeded by taking the summit in Singapore as the opportunity.”
The media said Pyongyang “solely discusses the better future for the two countries with a bold attitude, as mutual slander does more harm than good amid a dramatic change occurs in the DPRK-U.S. relations.”
The Trump administration, the article continued, attempts to “have in-depth talks to establish renew DPRK-U.S. relations and establish permanent and stable peace on the Korean peninsula while denying the dignity and regime of the counterpart for a dialogue.”
“It’s the same behavior of trying to moving forward while binding your feet by yourself,” it continued.
“Now is the time for both the DPRK and the U.S. to take good-will gestures while abandoning wrong prejudices and practices, mutually respecting and trusting each other and removing obstacles placed in front of us.”
The article cites the U.S. House of Representatives’ introduction in June of a resolution urging the White House to press for “complete, verifiable, and irreversible human rights improvements” in North Korea as one example of recent American provocations.
Also blamed was the State Departments’s 2018 Trafficking in Persons Report, which last week named the DPRK as the world’s worst human trafficking nations for the 16th year in a row, and the final House passage of the North Korean Human Rights Reauthorization Act (H.R. 2061).
North Korean state media had since the Singapore summit avoided condemning Washington’s frequent criticisms of the country’s human rights record.
Anti-U.S. propaganda, too, was reported to be being removed from prominent parts of Pyongyang, and North Korean coverage of the 68th anniversary of the start of the Korean War last week was largely devoid of its typical anti-American slant.
Analysis of trends North Korean media by NK News‘s KCNA Watch this week, too, revealed a marked decline in the aggressive rhetoric seen in the country’s state news agency in the first half of the year.
April saw an Uriminzokkiri report say the DPRK was skeptical of the U.S. “sincerity” in talks, warning criticism of the human rights situation could “pour cold water” over plans for a summit.
In May, the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) and ruling party organ the Rodong Sinmun released a series of articles attacking the U.S. for bringing up the DPRK human rights issue – a response to the State Department’s publication of its “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2017.”
Today’s editorial comes as U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo arrives in Pyongyang for a two-day visit, where he is set to meet with DPRK leader Kim Jong Un and hold talks with other high-ranking officials.
The media warned Washington that “all bets are off” if it is “fooled by the slander of those who are obsessed with the ignorance and prejudice of the DPRK.”
“Should we make the human rights the issue, we living in the people’s world have more to say to the U.S., which is a human rights wasteland,” it argued.
Another online outlet, the Arirang-Meari, on Friday also condemned the Trump administration for “continuously sticking to the pressure on the DPRK ‘human rights,’” describing it as “hostile.”
U.S. criticism was “very inappropriate” while dialogue between Pyongyang and Washington was ongoing, it added,
“The ‘North Korean human rights issue’ is the villainous result of the hostile policy against the DPRK, and the aim is to deny our dignity and regime and to promote social instability by confusing public opinion,” the Arirang-Meari said.
“The attempt to apply the ‘human rights’ standards of the capitalist system and the U.S. to our socialist system itself is very impure and provocative.”
In contrast to Uriminzokkiri editorial, Arirang-Meari also extended a warning to the South Korean government, warning Seoul not to join Washington in criticism of Pyongyang’s human rights record.
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured Image: UNICEF
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