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Date : December 15, 2015
UN SC Meetings Coverage: Institutional Human Rights Violations in NK
   http://www.un.org/press/en/2015/sc12151.doc.htm [252]



Institutional Human Rights Violations in Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Pose Threat to International Peace, Security, Security Council Told

7575th Meeting (PM)

SECURITY COUNCIL
MEETINGS COVERAGE

Council Lacks Mandate over Violations, Some Members Stress, as High Commissioner for Human Rights Says Millions Still Denied Basic Freedoms

The institutional nature and severity of gross human rights violations in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea posed a threat to international peace and security, the High Commissioner for Human Rights told the Security Council today, following a rare procedural vote to approve the meeting’s provisional agenda.

Highlighting stark differences over whether the Council was the appropriate forum in which to discuss human rights violations, the procedure concluded with the Council approving the provisional agenda by a vote of 9 in favour to 4 against (Angola, China, Russian Federation, Venezuela), with 2 abstentions (Chad, Nigeria).  It was the Council’ s second meeting on the situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the first having been held in December 2014.

Requesting the procedural vote, China’s representative said he disagreed that the human rights situation in the neighbouring country posed a threat to international peace and security, adding that his delegation had always opposed the Council’s consideration of such issues.

However, the representative of the United States recalled that the December 2014 meeting had focused on the human rights violations documented in the report of the Independent Commission of Inquiry.  The item was now on the Council’s list, she said.

Today’s meeting had been requested in a 3 December letter addressed to the to the Council President (document S/2015/931) by nine members requesting that a senior Secretariat official and one from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) “formally brief” on the situation and its implications for international peace and security, “as early as possible in the month of December”.

In his briefing, High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein said millions of people in the Democratic Republic of Korea continued to be denied their basic rights and freedoms, including those of movement, religion, access to information and to form organizations.  The independent International Commission of Inquiry established by the Human Rights Council had described the appalling nature of the political prison camp system, believed to contain between 80,000 and 120,000 prisoners.

In June, he said, OHCHR had established a branch in Seoul and begun collecting testimonies from individuals who had left the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  Witnesses and victims had spoken of the severe treatment of detainees in political prison camps and other detention locations, including torture.  Food insecurity was an ongoing concern and women were subjected to gender-based violence and discrimination.

Further, the matter of international abductions remained a cause of “very grave” concern, he continued.  While Pyongyang’s creation of a Special Investigation Committee was a positive development, no information had been provided.  Once again, the General Assembly was calling on the Council to refer the situation to the International Criminal Court.

In his own briefing, Jeffrey Feltman, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, said the international community had yet to agree on an effective way to address the serious human rights concerns raised by the report of the Commission of Inquiry, especially in terms of balancing calls for a focus on security, with the need for engagement and dialogue.  “History has shown that serious violations of human rights often serve as a warning sign of instability and conflict, especially in the absence of accountability,” he said.

Pointing out that 2015 marked 70 years since the division of the Korean Peninsula, he welcomed the holding of family reunions between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea from 20 to 26 October.  Such humanitarian measures should be regularized and not subject to political or security considerations, he emphasized.

In the ensuing debate, members who welcomed today’s meeting said violations such as deliberate starvation, systemic forced labour, torture and forced disappearances were crimes that the Council could not leave unchallenged.  Some were serious enough to constitute crimes against humanity, and thus, warranted discussion about whether to refer the situation to the International Criminal Court.  “We can’t consider human rights, or peace and security, in isolation,” the United Kingdom’s representative stressed.

Japan’s representative strongly disagreed that the human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had no relevance to international peace and security.  Pyongyang had abducted hundreds of nationals of the Republic of Korea, Japan and other States, he pointed out, demanding their return as soon as possible.

In a similar vein, the Republic of Korea’s representative said the issue of separated family members remained the most urgent humanitarian concern for his country.  Seoul expected Pyongyang to share that sense of urgency and join in seeking a fundamental and comprehensive solution to the issue by holding family reunions on a larger scale and on a regular basis.  Addressing the issue was critical to maintaining peace on the Korean Peninsula, he said.

However, the representative of the Russian Federation said he opposed today’s meeting in part because the request had been circulated just two days after the Council’s December work programme had been set.  The authors had not connected the request to any event, he noted.  The Russian Federation’s position on the matter was unchanged in that human rights situations did not fall within the Council’s purview, a point echoed by the representatives of Angola and Venezuela.

Angola’s representative said that if his country had been a Council member during the initial vote placing today’s item on the agenda, “our vote would have been no, as it is today”.  Angola had expressed unwavering support for the non-proliferation regime, he said, describing proliferation on the Korean Peninsula as a threat to international peace and security.  However, the country’s human rights situation did not constitute such a threat and thus fell outside the Council’s mandate.

Also speaking today were representatives of New Zealand, Chad, Jordan, France, Lithuania, Nigeria, Chile, Spain and Malaysia.

The meeting began at 2:38 p.m. and ended at 4:36 p.m.

Action

A procedural vote on the provisional agenda was requested.

WANG MIN (China) said his country was always opposed to Council consideration of human rights situations in Member States.  The several bodies of the United Nations had a division of labour and should not encroach on each other.  The Council should discuss threats to international peace and security, he said, emphasizing that the human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea did not pose a threat to international peace and security.  China, therefore, demanded a vote.

SAMANTHA POWER (United States), Council President for December, recalling that, in December 2014, the Council had held its first meeting on the situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, with a focus on the human rights violations documented in the report of the Independent Commission of Inquiry.  The item was now on the Council’s list.  Human rights violations and ongoing threats to international peace and security were the reason for the Council to continue the meetings, she said, stressing that as long as the situation remained unchanged, the Council should continue its consideration of the item.

The Council then approved the agenda by 9 votes in favour to 4 against (Angola, China, Russian Federation, Venezuela), with 2 abstentions (Chad, Nigeria).

Briefings

JEFFREY FELTMAN, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, noted that it was fitting that the Council was meeting on Human Rights Day, commemorating the General Assembly’s 1948 adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  He said the Human Rights Council’s Commission of Inquiry had concluded that the “gravity, scale and nature” of violations in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea revealed a State without parallel in the contemporary world.  Efforts to engage the Government in improving the human rights situation must go hand in hand with efforts to hold criminal perpetrators accountable.

The international community had yet to agree on an effective way to address the serious human rights concerns raised by the report of the Commission of Inquiry, especially in terms of balancing calls for a focus on security, with the need for engagement and dialogue.  Despite different perspectives on the matter, discussion of human rights concerns by the Council allowed for a more comprehensive assessment of security and stability concerns on the Korean Peninsula.  “History has shown that serious violations of human rights often serve as a warning sign of instability and conflict, especially in the absence of accountability, he said.”

Over the past two years, he continued, the humanitarian community’s efforts to engage, and the Government’s commitment to improve its disaster management capacity, had led to an improved relationship between the United Nations and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  The Government’s increasing openness to carrying out joint assessments with United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations had facilitated access and the collection of data.

Welcoming such engagement in the preparation of the 2016 Needs and Priorities document, which would outline urgent humanitarian priorities, he noted that humanitarian funding to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had declined over the last decade, from $183 million in 2003 to less than $50 million in 2014.  The lack of timely, predictable and sufficient funding was crippling the ability of agencies to respond, he said, urging urged States to increase assistance to those in need.  The United Nations country team was discussing with the Government a new strategic framework starting in 2017 that would cover both humanitarian assistance and development support for the coming five years, he added.

Pointing out that 2015 marked 70 years since the division of the Korean Peninsula, he said inter-Korean relations had been deadlocked for “far too long”, and welcomed the holding of family reunions between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea from 20 to 26 October.  Such humanitarian measures should be regularized and not subject to political or security considerations.

He went on to say that the Secretary-General was encouraged by the positive trends relating to inter-Korean relations, especially the “August Agreement” and plans for inter-Korean talks on 11 December.  The Government had extended invitations to visit to the High Commissioner for Human Rights — for the first time in history — and to the European Union Special Representative for Human Rights.  While the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea did not recognize the mandate of the Special Rapporteur or the High Commissioner’s Seoul office, he said, the invitations were positive signals that the country could become more substantively engaged with the United Nations human rights system.

Noting that several Council members had made known their readiness to adjust their positions in response to steps by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to improve its human rights situation, he urged the country and other concerned Member States to begin taking those steps, adding that the United Nations was committed to helping to achieve that end.

ZEID RA’AD AL HUSSEIN, High Commissioner for Human Rights, said the institutional nature and severity of the continuing gross violations in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea posed a threat to international peace and security.  The abduction of foreign nationals, enforced disappearances, trafficking and continuing movements of refugees and asylum-seekers made that point clearly.  Those and other gross human rights violations had still not been halted or reversed by the country’s Government.

He went on to state that victims were still unable to find judicial redress and there was still no accountability grounded in an independent judiciary.  Millions of people in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea continued to be denied their basic rights and freedoms, including those of movement, religion, access to information and to form organizations.  The independent International Commission of Inquiry established by the Human Rights Council had described the appalling nature of the country’s political prison-camp system, believed to contain between 80,000 and 120,000 prisoners.

Over the past year, he said, his Office had begun to implement the Commission’s recommendations, including the establishment of a branch of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) inaugurated in Seoul in June, which was fully operational.  It had begun collecting testimonies from individuals who had left the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, documenting developments in the human rights situation and deepening the evidentiary basis for accountability.  He said he had met a number of defectors and their personal experiences were indeed “extraordinarily harrowing”.  He also expressed concern about threats issued by national authorities and media against the office in Seoul when established.  “It is wholly unacceptable that a Member State issues threats like that against a United Nations office and its staff,” he stressed.

Three types of allegations had emerged from OHCHR’s recent monitoring and documentation efforts, he continued.  First, witnesses and victims had spoken of the severe treatment of detainees in political prison camps and other detention locations, including inhuman detention conditions and torture.  Secondly, food insecurity was an ongoing concern, he said, noting that while food availability had improved, the public distribution system’s systemic failure had not been addressed.  Thirdly, women were subjected to gender-based violence and discrimination.  Recent restrictions on movement across the border with China, often used by women engaging in private trade, had had a strongly negative impact on women and increased the vulnerability to trafficking of those seeking to leave.

While the October family meetings were a welcome development, such reunions should be regularized, he said.  However, the matter of international abductions remained a cause of “very grave” concern.  While Pyongyang’s creation of a Special Investigation Committee was a positive development, no information had been provided since then.  The fate of hundreds of abduction victims from the Republic of Korea must be established.  Once again the General Assembly was calling upon the Council to take action by referring the situation to the International Criminal Court, he noted.  While that was essential, any call for accountability must go hand in hand with an open dialogue with the Government.

OHCHR continued to engage with the authorities on possible technical cooperation, and there were signs that the Government was making tentative efforts to engage in the international area.  He said that he very much welcomed the invitation extended to him by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s Minister for Foreign Affairs to visit the country.  “The continuing violations and systemic failings simply heighten international anxieties of the possibility of a precipitous turn, […] which could rapidly engulf the region,” he said.  If the international community was serious about reducing tensions in the region, more must be done collectively to ensure respect for human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  “Addressing the chronic human rights situations in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is urgent and long overdue.”

Statements

PETER WILSON (United Kingdom) said the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had “probably the worst” human rights situation in the world.  It was a totalitarian State that starved its people and instrumentalized forced labour, torture and rape.  Such violations “cannot go unchallenged by this Council”, he said, emphasizing that the stream of factual reports on systematic human rights violations could not be ignored.  “We can’t consider human rights, or peace and security, in isolation.”  The United Kingdom looked forward to Pyongyang offering proper access, including by the High Commissioner, and explaining how it would implement the recommendations of the Universal Periodic Review which it claimed to accept.  Expressing support for calls upon the Council to ensure accountability, including through a possible referral to the International Criminal Court, he said that until Pyongyang respected its obligations to its people, the Council had no option but to remain seized of the matter.

WANG MIN (China) said his country’s Government opposed the Council’s intervention in a national human rights situation, stressing that the Council was not the place to discuss human rights.  Describing the situation on the Korean Peninsula as complicated and fragile, he said that maintaining peace and stability, realizing the goal of denuclearization and resolving issues through dialogue was in the common interest of all the relevant parties.  Calling upon those parties to de-escalate tensions in order to foster mutual dialogue and trust, he said that, as the host of six-party talks, China had promoted peace negotiations, and hoped all concerned parties would work to realize peace and stability on the peninsula.

JOÃO IAMBENO GIMOLIECA (Angola) said that if his country had been a Council member during the initial vote on placing today’s item on the agenda, “our vote would have been no, as it is today”.  Angola had expressed unwavering support for the non-proliferation regime, he said, describing proliferation on the Korean Peninsula as a threat to international peace and security.  However, the country’s human rights situation did not constitute such a treat and thus fell outside the Council’s mandate.  The General Assembly was already dealing with the country’s human rights situation, he said, pointing out that the Human Rights Council was the appropriate forum for deliberating on such issues.  Angola disapproved of the double standards often applied by the Council, he said, noting that some countries had seen human rights violations perpetrated on their territories, and had even sponsored terrorism, without being subjected to a word of condemnation by the Council.

CAROLYN SCHWALGER (New Zealand) said there was little evidence that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea regime showed respect for international law, including international human rights law.  The country had engaged in extreme militarization under its Military First policy, predicated on the repression of its own citizens.  An estimated 25 per cent of its gross national product was dedicated to defence spending.  With no discernible improvement over the last year, it was appropriate for the Council to discuss the situation again.  Acknowledging certain positive developments over the past two years, including the invitation to the High Commissioner to visit as a follow-up to his Office’s interest in technical cooperation, she said there had also been positive signals of improvement for persons with disabilities.  New Zealand called upon the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to immediately end human rights violations, and to sign, ratify and implement key human rights instruments, she emphasized, adding that Member States must continue to engage Pyongyang on human rights where possible.  The Council must remain seized of the human rights situation and be ready to explore options for ensuring the accuracy of the information it was receiving.

GOMBO TCHOULI (Chad), recalling that the Council had been seized of the same matter in 2014, said the report of the Commission of Inquiry described massive human rights violations.  It recommended urgent action by the Council, including referring the matter to the International Criminal Court.  According to recent reports, the situation had not changed, he said, reiterating his delegation’s serious concerns about human rights violations in the country.  Noting that the serious violations reported were the result of investigations carried out outside the country, he urged caution and stressed the need for more detailed investigations.  He emphasized that the special interest among some Council members should be extended to all similar situations around the world in order to avoid double standards.  Council members must find consensual ways to set up a framework for cooperation in investigating human rights violations.  Chad called upon all States with influence to encourage Pyongyang to begin a dialogue in order to facilitate access for independent investigators.

DINA KAWAR (Jordan) said she was deeply concerned about the gross and systematic violations committed, in particular, against women and children.  As stipulated in United Nations reports, the violations might represent crimes against humanity.  The internal situation was exacerbated by the international situation in view of Pyongyang’s threats to conduct nuclear and missile tests, which were threats to international peace and security.  Jordan called upon Pyongyang to allow the Special Rapporteur to visit the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and to involve itself with the international community on all human rights situations.  Meanwhile, the Council must work in a unified manner to end such practices and deal with the situation.

RAFAEL DARÍO RAMÍREZ CARREÑO (Venezuela) expressed concern that the Council was increasingly addressing items outside its mandate.  That double standard undermined the principle of sovereignty, especially when Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter was invoked to deal with such issues as migrants.  Terrorism and its promotion by geopolitical interests in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question, should be the priority, he said, emphasizing that today’s topic did not contribute to the United Nations system’s effective functioning.  Human rights issues must be examined by the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council, the latter of which had been established for that very purpose.  Venezuela supported the Non-Aligned Movement’s rejection of addressing human rights for politically motivated reasons, he said, adding that singling out a particular country had proven ineffective as it only fuelled confrontation.  Urging the use of diplomacy to solve conflicts, he welcomed the agreement between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea to resume dialogue.

ALEXIS LAMEK (France) said the tragic human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea remained unchanged, noting that 1,382 people had been publicly executed and that forced disappearances also extended to citizens of other countries.  Noting that Japanese nationals had been abducted, he said Pyongyang had had acknowledged its responsibility and should allow their return home.  Expressing support for the Special Rapporteur’s approach, he said human rights violations had been experienced by dissidents and human rights defenders, women and vulnerable groups.  Combating impunity was the only response, he said, adding that some crimes could be considered crimes against humanity.  A possible referral to the International Criminal Court warranted the Council’s attention.  The violations in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea threatened international peace and security, and the Council must remain seized of the matter.

DAINIUS BAUBLYS (Lithuania) said his country was among the nine that had called for today’s meeting because the threat to international peace and security posed by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was not limited to its clandestine nuclear weapons programmes, but also stemmed from “massive and atrocious” human rights violations.  The country had failed to comply with its responsibility to protect its own population and international action was required.  To remain silent in the face of such crimes would amount to condoning them, he said, emphasizing that those responsible must be brought to justice and the situation referred to the International Criminal Court.  Further, the Council should consider imposing targeted sanctions against those most responsible for crimes against humanity, he said, urging Pyongyang to engage the High Commissioner and the Special Rapporteur “without delay”.  It must follow such engagement with actions acknowledging the existence of human rights violations.

USMAN SARKI (Nigeria) said his country attached great importance to respect for human rights and freedoms everywhere, adding that States must protect the rights of their citizens.  There were different perspectives to human rights and threats to international peace and security, and the issue of human rights must not be linked to non-proliferations question.  The United Nations had established mechanisms for the promotion and protection of human rights around the world, including the Human Rights Council, which had been shown to be relevant.  The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had participated in the periodic review and had ratified some key human rights treaties, he noted, encouraging that country to strengthen its engagement with the Human Rights Council and the relevant treaty bodies.

EVGENY ZAGAYNOV (Russian Federation) said his country’s Government opposed today’s meeting in part because the request had been circulated just two days after the Council’s December work programme had been set.  The authors had not connected the request to any event that had occurred, an approach that did not strengthen the Council’s transparency.  The Russian Federation’s position on the matter was unchanged, he said, emphasizing that human rights situations did not fall within the Council’s purview.  Rather, they should be considered by specialized bodies, such as the Human Rights Council.  The human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea bore no relation to international peace and security, he reiterated, pointing out that considering the matter would only lead to a scattering of the Council’s focus.  Priority should be accorded to resuming the six-party talks and the range of issues that could be resolved in that format.  As history had shown, collective efforts based on good faith allowed for the resolution of complex problems.

CHRISTIAN BARROS MELET (Chile) said it was difficult to remain indifferent to the human rights situation, which called for coordinated actions on the part of the whole United Nations system.  The Council was responding to the appeal by the Third Committee (Social Humanitarian and Cultural) for appropriate measures to guarantee accountability, he said, adding that the recommendation to refer the situation to the International Criminal Court should be analysed.  Despite some positive developments, crimes against humanity and the climate of impunity had not improved.  The technical dialogue between OHCHR and Pyongyang should resume and accountability must be promoted, he said, urging the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to implement the recommendation to resume dialogue with the United Nations system, and to cooperate with Member States interested in the matter of forced disappearances.

ROMÁN OYARZUN MARCHESI (Spain) said that any massive violation of human rights constituted a threat to international peace and security.  Spain, therefore, unreservedly supported the Council’s consideration of the matter.  Noting that the situation of human rights violations had affected regional stability, he said the Pyongyang Government was responsible for guaranteeing the human rights of its own people and, in the absence of a response, it was up to the international community to protect the population, which had been suffering for too long.  The Council had previously addressed the situation from the standpoint of non-proliferation, and now it must provide a response to the systematic violations of human rights, he said.  The Council must strongly support the Special Rapporteur’s strategy, including by sending a strong message of clear commitment to combating impunity, which could include referral to the International Criminal Court.  There should also be dialogue with Pyongyang on the topic of human rights, he said, adding that it should allow access to independent experts, with regional organizations playing an important role.

RAMLAN BIN IBRAHIM (Malaysia) emphasized that Council members must not shy away from difficult and complex situations while upholding the principles of respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of States and non-interference in domestic affairs.  The Council’s consideration of the situation was without prejudice to the role of other bodies that had a responsibility for protecting human rights.  Malaysia urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to engage in dialogue with OHCHR.  Encouraged by Pyongyang’s participation in the periodical review process, he noted, however, that tensions remained high between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea, and called for dialogue between the two countries.  The six-party talks remained the best platform for resolving outstanding issues, he said, asking the parties concerned to resume talks without preconditions.  Malaysia also encouraged Pyongyang to step up engagement with the Council and other bodies to address non-proliferation concerns.

Ms. POWER (United States), speaking in her national capacity, asked whether systematic torture, forced starvation and crimes against humanity were good for peace and security or could be seen as neutral.  The Commission’s report was based on more than 200 interviews with victims, witnesses and former officials, all corroborated by satellite imagery.  The Council had met today because the people of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea continued to endure a nightmare that threatened peace and security.  The Secretary-General’s report stated that, from September 2014 to August 2015, there had been no indication of improvement in freedom of __EXPRESSION__, nor in the use of political prison camps, where between 80,000 and 120,000 people were held.

She went on to state that tens of thousands of people had been “gradually eliminated” through deliberate starvation, torture and other crimes.  Also unchanged was the suffering of millions who went hungry because of the regime’s actions.  Recounting the experiences of two individuals attending today’s meeting who had fled the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, she underlined that “no member of this Council or of the United Nations can afford to ignore this situation”.  The Council must consider the recommendation to refer the situation to the International Criminal Court.  In addition, she urged Council members to stop sending those who tried to flee back to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

MOTOHIDE YOSHIKAWA (Japan) said his country’s Government was participating in today’s meeting out of concern about human rights violations by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea against its own citizens, as well as foreign nationals, including Japanese.  Describing the Council’s first discussion of that country’s human rights situation in 2014 as a “historic step forward”, he strongly disagreed with those who argued that it had no relevance to international peace and security, emphasizing that serious human rights violations were warning signs of instability.  Pyongyang had abducted hundreds of nationals of the Republic of Korea, Japan and other States, and almost 18 months had passed since it had pledged to investigate all Japanese nationals in the country, including abductees.  That issue must be resolved without delay, he stressed, demanding their return as soon as possible.  Japan urged the Council to remain seized of the situation, and Pyongyang to respond to the Council’s concerns.

OH JOON (Republic of Korea) said that the 2014 Commission of Inquiry report raised critical awareness of the need to strengthen the international community’s collective efforts to improve the human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  The United Nations had taken a number of actions pursuant to the report, but no meaningful change had been seen in that country’s human rights situation.  “The dire human rights violations continue and, in some cases, are getting worse,” he said, adding that “we still have a long way to go”.  Addressing that issue was critical not only in promoting human rights as a universal value, but also in maintaining peace on the Korean Peninsula.  In that regard, he urged the Council to continue to play an active role in improving the situation, and asked the High Commissioner for Human Rights to further his efforts to improve the human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  Recalling that 2015 marked the seventieth anniversary of the Korean nation’s partition, he said the issue of separated family members remained the most urgent humanitarian concern for his country.  They expected Pyongyang to share that sense of urgency and join in seeking a fundamental and comprehensive solution to the issue by holding family reunions on a larger scale and on a regular basis.






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