North’s diplomats disrupt UN event

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North’s diplomats disrupt UN event

A U.S.-organized event on North Korea’s human rights briefly turned into chaos at the UN on Thursday as North Korean diplomats insisted on reading a statement of protest, amid shouts from defectors, and then stormed out.

The U.S. ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, tried to quiet the diplomats at the event that featured more than 20 defectors. She called North Korea’s statements “totally self-discrediting.’’

The North Korean diplomats did not comment as they left the chamber after diplomat Ri Song Chol read out a statement in protest of the event, even as North Korean defectors stood and shouted in their faces.

Nuclear-armed North Korea has been on the defensive ever since a ground-breaking UN commission of inquiry detailed vast rights abuses there. North Korea has repeatedly referred to defectors who cooperated in the inquiry as “human scum.’’

Defectors stood up and shouted in Korean as Power and others called for calm and a UN security team assembled. An observer who speaks Korean said the shouts included “Shut up!’’ “Free North Korea!’’ “Down with Kim Jong Un!’’ and “Even animals know to wait their turn.’’

“There is no need for a microphone,’’ Power said as one North Korean diplomat persisted in reading out a statement that referred to “ungrounded allegations’’ and “hostile policy’’ toward his country. A microphone was briefly turned on for the diplomats.

Power continued: “Please shut the mike down because this is not an authorized presentation. .?.?. Please ensure that the microphone is not live. .?.?. We are calling UN security.’’

As soon as the North Korean diplomat stopped talking and the next featured defector, Jay Jo, started speaking, the North Korean diplomats stood and walked out.

AP

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