Wednesday, March 8, 2017

On N Korea, UNSC Prez Cites Guterres, ICP Asks But S Korea, US & Japan No Answer Yet

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 8 – The UN Security Council met on the morning of March 8 after North Korea fired more missiles. Afterward Council president Matthew Rycroft of the UK alluded to a role for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. But when the Ambassadors of South Korea, the US and Japan came out together, as before under Samantha Power, they did not answer the Press question about a role for the UN Secretary General. It is theater, some say, doing these meetings in the UN. These are questions we will pursue.
   On the evening of March 7, the UK and Japan tweeted that a Council Press Statement had already been issued. The UN Spokesperson's Office didn't send it out until 50 minutes later, still UNexplained. 
 On March 7, the UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq denied to Inner City Press that the UN statement on the launch labeled "amendment" was, in fact, an amendment. Video here.
At the March 6 noon briefing, Inner City Press asked the UN spokesperson, "I just wanted to know whether you have a comment yet on the missile firings by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea." Spokesman Farhan Haq replied, "we deplore the continued violation of Security Council resolutions by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, including the most recent launches of ballistic missiles.  The DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] leadership should refrain from further provocations and return to full compliancewith its international obligations.  And if we have any further reaction or statement later in the afternoon, of course, we'll share that with you as it happens, but we're evaluating the situation as of right now."
  But after this answer to Inner City Press, apparently there was a rethink. Later the UN Spokesperson's Office sent out an "amendment" which dropped the word "return," thusly: "The Secretary-General reiterates his call for the DPRK leadership to refrain from further provocations and comply fully with its international obligations." No more "return." Who complained? 
 On March 7, Inner City Press asked Haq about the change, and got only denial and obfuscation. From the UN transcript: Inner City Press: on DPRK.  Yesterday, I’d asked you about the missile launches and you said… I’ll look it up.  You said somehow… there was a line you said that… that the call was to return to full compliance with its international obligations.  And then, later, there was a written statement, sort of amending that without using the word “return.”  So I just wanted to understand, what… what came between the two?  Did somebody complain about the use of the word “return”?  Is it the UN’s position… you sent out an amended statement yesterday.  So I’m wondering, just what… what triggered the amendment?

Deputy Spokesman:  The amended statement… if you compare the two statements, there’s a very small difference in the words, basically because it’s believed that the wording as it was amended was somewhat more precise.  It’s not because of an amendment.  Basically, the wrong draft… the two drafts were very similar, and the wrong draft was posted, and we quickly caught that and put the right draft up.

Inner City Press: But I’m actually going… I’m talking about the transcript of yesterday’s briefing, was it similar to the first one that was put out?  And I just… there’s a substantive thing behind it.  I wanted to know, is it the UN amending itself to say that they were never in compliance and so to call to a return to compliance is wrong…? That’s the word that’s missing.  [inaudible]

Deputy Spokesman:  No, no.  It’s nothing like that.  When I came to the briefing, I didn’t have a statement.  I knew that a statement was coming up down the line, but I didn’t have that language to go on, and so the language came later in the day.
  Ironically, later in the briefing, Haq returned to using the word "return." Watch this site.
North Korea denounced that "U.S. imperialists and the south Korean puppet warmongers kicked off joint military exercises for aggression against the DPRK." In the UN lobby on the morning of March 6, a North Korean diplomat asked Inner City Press, what is more threatening, these four missiles or the US aircraft carriers? 
 Now Inner City Press has published DPRK's letters to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, on abductions, here, and to the UK as UNSC President, here.
On the evening of March 6, the US Mission to the UN said that "[f]ollowing the request by Japan and the United States, consultations on Non-Proliferation/DPRK will take place during the morning of Wednesday 8 March. At the request of the SRSG, Syria consultations will now take place at 3pm on Wednesday, rather than at 10 am."
 The North Korea launch and request came while the UN Security Council, at least most members, are in Nigeria. They are set to meet in New York on Wednesday, March 8 about Syria - and now, North Korea. Will a Press Statement come faster and more detailed, given the argument that these launches make China more angry as they tend to justify the THAAD deployment China opposes? As Inner City Press first reported, the new North Korea sanctions report by the UN Panel of Exports, which Inner City Press puts online in full here, lists not only weapons sales to Egypt and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and cites Sudan and Sri Lanka - but also has this on Nigeria, which the UN Security Council is currently visiting: "Malaysia-Korea Partners Group of Companies lists as one of its mainactivities overseas construction, including of statues, in Africa. The company’s promotional video states that its 'formula for success is a powerful mix of Malaysian products and Korean labour and technology.' One of the company’s construction projects is the renovation of the embassy of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in Nigeria." Note 195.
  The Security Council and the correspondents invited to cover its trip didn't in Cameroon address the abuse of Anglophones in that country. Will they be checking in on this other issues ostensibly of so much concern?
 Sudan was removed from some UN sanctions just before January 21. From Paragraph 106: "the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea supplied 100 122-mm precision guided rocket control sections and 80 air attack satellite guided missiles (AGP-250, for ground attack) to Sudan Master Technology Engineering Company in two contracts of 29 August 2013, worth €5,144,075 and signed by reported KOMID president Mr. Kang Myong Chol (alias Pak Han Se), using a reported KOMID front company, Chosun Keuncheon Technology Trade Company. The Member State provided travel information on KOMID officials responsible for the contracts. The Sudan has not responded to the Panel’s enquiries."
In paragraph 103 of the report is it recounted that "a diplomat of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea named Mr. Kim Hyok Chan, and another Angola-based diplomat named as a Green Pine representative, Mr. Jon Chol Young, traveled together to Sri Lanka three times (between 2014 and 2016) to discuss shipbuilding projects. Described as boat-building experts, they reportedly met with the State Minister of Defence of Sri Lanka on 5 November 2015 to discuss building naval patrol vessels at a Sri Lankan shipyard prior to sale to its navy. The Panel has yet to receive a reply from Sri Lanka."
   More than 24 hours after North Korea's missile launch, and that government calling it a success, Japan's Mission to the UN tweeted that it had requested an urgent UN Security Council meeting along with South Korea and the United States.
  And even before the meeting a Press Statement was agreed to. Sweden tweeted it first; Inner City Press asked the Council's president for February Ukraine to confirm it was agreed before the meeting and they did.
  Inner City Press asked Japan's Ambassador Koro Bessho if any member had brought up the THAAD missile deployment by the US in South Korea. He told Inner City Press to ask the country it thinks may have raised it. Watch this site.
  While that meeting took place, this from US Ambassador Nikki Haley on the North Korean Missile launch: “We call on all members of the Security Council to use every available resource to make it clear to the North Korean regime – and its enablers – that these launches are unacceptable. It is time to hold North Korea accountable – not with our words, but with our actions.”
  Under Samantha Power, the US Mission was selective in how it doled out information, and ignored the UN's eviction and ongoing restriction on the Press which reports on UN corruption.  This should be changing, but hasn't yet. Watch this site.

After North Korea conducted its last  nuclear test, the UN Security Council met on September 9 and issued a Press Statement.

  Inner City Press asked South Korea's then-Ambassador Oh Joon (who went on to support Ban Ki-moon's failed campaign for South Korea's presidency) if the THAAD deployment didn't in some sense escalate things. Pressed, Oh Joon said, “China's nuclear deterrence doesn't have anything to do with this issue.”

Now on November 30 a new resolution passed 15-0 (full text on Scribd here), after the US election, with the Obama administration and US Power and Mission in lame duck status.

Both China and Russia spoke against the deployment of the THAAD system in South Korea. But even the word wasn't mentioned in the three questions pre-picked by Samantha Power's spokesman (Reuters, Kyoto, KBS), much less in the answers. More was said of South Korean Ambassador Oh Joon flying to Korea tonight - to work on a Ban Ki-moon presidential campaign? Inner City Press asked, but it was not answered at the end.

Ban Ki-moon came to speak, which he doesn't do on other countries - essentially, video for a run for President of South Korea. US Samantha Power, when she mentioned the ban on monuments sales, cited only Robert Mugabe and Laurent Kabila, not those of other US allies.

Afterward at the stakeout, asked by KBS what chance these new “statue” sanctions have of stopping North Korea, Power made dubious analogies to sanctions not only on Iran but also South Africa and Serbia. It's a problem from hell, including these unfettered journalists who want to ask non pre-picked questions...

  But it'd be “prohibiting member states from buying North Korean made statues. The DPRK has developed a cottage industry building statues in numerous African states, mostly via the Pyongyang-based Mansundae Art Studio. Mansudae’s work can be seen in Cambodia, Angola, Benin, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, and Togo.”