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US calls N.Korea 'living nightmare;' China overruled

The United States and other Western members of the UN Security Council have slammed North Korea's human rights record after voting to over-rule China's objections and add the hermit state to the council's agenda.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power described life in North Korea as a "living nightmare" and dismissed as absurd Pyongyang's demand for a joint US-North Korean investigation of the hacking of Sony Pictures and threats of retaliation if the United States refused.

The council meeting on North Korea came after a rare procedural vote sparked by China's objections to the inclusion of North Korea on the council's agenda.

There were 11 votes in favor, two against and two abstentions. Russia and China voted against the inclusion of North Korea on the council's agenda, but as there are no vetoes in procedural votes of the council, the Chinese attempt to defeat the measure failed.

The last time the council held a procedural vote was in 2006, when it added Myanmar to its agenda. Until now, the council's discussions of North Korea have been limited to its nuclear weapons program. But with today's vote, all aspects of the country can now be scrutinized by the 15-nation body.

Before the vote, China UN Ambassador Liu Jieyi said "the Security Council is not the forum to get involved in human rights issues" and it "should refrain from doing anything that might cause an escalation."

After the vote, a formal meeting on North Korea began immediately, as requested by Australian Ambassador Gary Quinlan and nine other mostly Western ambassadors. He described the council move as "an historic step."

"The DPRK (North Korea) is in effect a totalitarian state which uses violence and repression against its own citizens to maintain itself and its threatening military apparatus in power," Quinlan said. "The regime's atrocities against its own people have created an inherently unstable state."

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Tags:  US  North Korea  UN  China  Sony  





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