United Nations official: NKoreans say it is important to prevent war

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United Nations official: NKoreans say it is important to prevent war

United Nations imposed sanctions on North Korea are adversely affecting the delivery of desperately needed humanitarian aid to the East Asian country, where an estimated 18 million North Koreans, almost 70 percent of the population, are suffering from acute food shortages, UN Human Rights Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said, according to AFP.

"I think they listened seriously to our arguments... they didn't offer any type of commitment to us at that point", he said, when asked whether he sensed that Pyongyang was willing to talk to Washington.

He said he underscored the need to prevent miscalculation and reduce the risk of conflict. "They have to reflect on what we said with their leadership", Feltman told reporters.

The smuggling is done by ship-to-ship transfers, he said, suggesting that foreign vessels are moving the goods on the high seas to North Korean ships that take them ashore.

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley told the council that the systematic human rights violations against North Korea's people "are a means to a single end: Keeping the Kim Jong Un regime in power".

The United Nations' political affairs chief visited the DPRK between December 5 and 9, meeting senior North Korean officials including foreign minister Ri Yong Ho and vice foreign minister Pak Myong Guk.

Other UN officials also noted that human rights conditions in the North are not improving in spite of the global community's continued pressure.

Jeffrey Feltman
GETTYThe UN official did not speak to reporters following his arrival at Beijing airport from Pyongyang

He said such violations have escalated in North Korea, along with tensions over its nuclear and missile tests, making restrictions on movement all the more stringent and exacerbating the already "horrific" prison condition. He said Trump endorsed his stance.

Feltman stressed the need for relevant Security Council resolutions to be implemented, saying a diplomatic solution could be achieved through honest dialogue. But he and his team sought to get them to understand that whatever problems there are between Pyongyang and Washington, North Korea has a larger issue to deal with - "which is that the global community does not accept its nuclear program".

Detainees are forced to work in mines or on building projects, face beatings, "and are being fed so little they barely survive", Zeid said.

He said increasingly tough United Nations sanctions that have been unanimously approved by all 15 Security Council members helped him show that the problem is not simply a U.S.

"But we have to get there by opening the door to a different direction from the current trajectory" that North Korea is on, he said.

"If the US and other hostile forces think of browbeating the DPRK by the discussion of "human rights issues" in the Security Council, it is nothing else than a daydream that will not be realized ever", it said, referring to the "human rights issues" as "non-existent".

"So I hope that for both life-saving reasons and for political reasons we'll be able to generate more funding", he said.

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