China likely to veto North’s referral to ICC: envoy

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China likely to veto North’s referral to ICC: envoy

A month after Japan and the European Union (EU) disseminated a draft resolution in the United Nations (UN) calling for the North Korean regime to be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity, the Chinese ambassador to the United States hinted that his country will likely veto the motion.

In an interview published Tuesday in Foreign Policy magazine, Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankai stated that “other countries, including the United States and China, should not try to interfere with domestic affairs in North Korea.”

His comments come just a few days before Chinese President Xi Jinping is set to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday. Obama is scheduled to arrive in Beijing on Monday to participate in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

When the publication directly asked the Chinese ambassador whether China would veto global efforts to prosecute Pyongyang at the tribunal, he fell short on offering a “yes” or “no” reply.

“What we stress is, first, denuclearization of the entire North Korean Peninsula. Number two, peace and stability. Number three, a peaceful resolution of the issue through negotiation and dialogue,” he was quoted as saying.

“You can have your own opinion, but ultimately it’s up to the Korean people to decide,” he said.

The interview failed to specify whether the “Korean people” to whom he was referring were North Korean citizens, the victims of those human rights abuses, or the state’s military officials, the perpetrators.

Cui continued that he did not think it was “helpful or constructive” for such a broad coalition of countries to be pushing ahead with a resolution to shed light on North Korea’s crimes against humanity.

Instead, “we should focus on denuclearization and stability,” he said.

According to The New York Times, 43 countries had signed on in support of the draft resolution distributed by Japan and the EU as of Oct. 25.

The draft resolution was based on a 372-page February report compiled by Michael Kirby, a former Australian judge who led the independent UN inquiry into human rights abuses in North Korea.

An ICC referral can only be made by the Security Council, whose 15 members include China, one of five veto-wielding permanent members.


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