North Korea remains world's most repressive authoritarian state: State Dept.

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North Korea remains world's most repressive authoritarian state: State Dept.

North Korea continues to be one of the most repressive authoritarian states in the world, a state department spokesperson said Wednesday.
Vedant Patel, principal deputy spokesperson for the state department, said the U.S. will continue to work with its allies to help improve human rights conditions in the reclusive North.
"As it relates to human rights, we remain very concerned about the human rights situation in the DPRK and the U.S. is committed to placing human rights at the center of our foreign policy," Patel said in a telephonic press briefing, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
"The DPRK is among the most repressive authoritarian states in the world and its human rights situation is deplorable, and we are going to continue to work with the international community to raise awareness, highlight abuses and violations and increase access to independent information and promote respect for human rights in the DPRK," he added.
The state department has kept its post of North Korean human rights envoy vacant for over five years.
Patel said he had no personnel announcements to make when asked, but insisted the current U.S. administration remains deeply engaged in efforts to improve human rights conditions in the North.
"This is something that this administration unequivocally has remained deeply engaged on across a variety of personnel," he said, noting a number of department officials, including U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Sung Kim, have "remained deeply engaged on the DPRK and the challenges that they pose."
"And so this is something that we are going to continue to pay close attention to and work collaboratively on with our allies and partners," added Patel.
With regard to North Korea's increasingly provocative behavior, the department spokesperson reiterated the need for China, the closest friend and largest trading partner of North Korea, to do more to prevent further escalation.
"The PRC has a responsibility to make clear to the DPRK that Pyongyang should not engage in unlawful nuclear or ballistic missile tests, and we continue to be open to engaging with the PRC to manage the very real threat that is posed by the DPRK," Patel said, referring to China by its official name, the People's Republic of China.
North Korea has launched 63 ballistic missiles this year, a new record that far exceeds its previous annual record of 25.
"Our viewpoint is that we must limit the DPRK's ability to advance unlawful ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction program," said Patel.

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