After taking over the presidency of the United Nations for disarmament, North Korea used a combative tone and ignored diplomatic niceties.
During a session, Pyongyang’s ambassador, Han Tae-Song, said, “My country is still at war with the United States.”
Calling it “an honor and a privilege” to hold this role, Song said, “The DPRK remains committed to contributing to world peace and disarmament and attaches importance to the work of the conference.”
Expressing outrage at the unpredictable charge of nuclear-armed North Korea to chair the forum, 50 countries took turns condemning Pyongyang’s actions.
Instead of staging a walkout, they sent lower-level representatives to the ambassadors who would usually be expected to attend.
In a decades-old practice among the body’s 65 members following the alphabetical order of country names in English, North Korea took over the rotating chairmanship of the Geneva-based DC.
North Korea’s presidency would “seriously damage the image and credibility of the United Nations”, according to Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, which monitors the performance of the global body.
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Marc Finaud, an expert at the Geneva Center for Security Policy, said of North Korea’s role: “This can only underline the uselessness of the CD in the current context.”
North Korea, which appears to be preparing to conduct another nuclear test for the first time since 2017, this year tested a flurry of ballistic missiles that have been banned by UNSC resolutions.
The CD, which negotiates arms control and disarmament agreements and focuses on ending the nuclear arms race, is not a UN body but meets at UN headquarters in Geneva.
(With agency contributions)
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