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FM Yun urges int'l cooperation to punish N. Korean leader

2017/02/27 23:20

GENEVA, Feb. 27 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's foreign minister on Monday appealed to the international community for close cooperation to punish North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, citing a recent murder case highlighted by the use of toxic agents.

It represents "not only the breach of intentional human rights norms but also a brazen challenge to international order based on rules," Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se said in a keynote speech at the U.N. Human Rights Council meeting and the Conference on Disarmament underway in Geneva.

He pointed out that the North Korean leader's half brother was "cruelly" assassinated at a Malaysian airport two weeks ago. The minister did not mention the names of Kim Jong-un or his half brother Kim Jong-nam.

But it marked the first time that a top South Korean government official raised the murder case on the global stage.

South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se in a file photo. (Yonhap) South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se in a file photo. (Yonhap)

Two Asian women allegedly rubbed VX nerve agent on his face. The substance is classified by the U.N. as a weapon of mass destruction.

South Korea's intelligence community believes that the Kim Jong-un regime, notorious for its reign of terror, is behind the killing. Kim has apparently viewed Jong-nam as a potential obstacle to his pursuit of a life-time authoritarian rule, according to North Korea watchers.

Yun took issue of the North's worsening human rights record, calling it a potential threat to peace and security of the whole world.

He added that more than 100 senior North Korean officials have been executed without proper trials over the past five years. Besides that, 80,000-120,000 people remain held at concentration camps in the communist nation.

"The entire country of North Korea has become a vast concentration camp," he said.

He emphasized that the member states of the council should take "independent and collective" steps to address the North's human rights abuse before it's too late and triggers a bigger catastrophe.

He welcomed a group of experts' recommendation that the U.N. bring the human rights issue to the International Criminal Court.

lcd@yna.co.kr

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