S. Korea seeks formal consultations with U.S., EU on NK human rights

SEOUL– South Korea is pushing for the resumption of bilateral consultations with the United States on the North Korean human rights problem following a six-year hiatus, multiple diplomatic sources said Sunday.

The allies had two rounds of working-level discussions in 2016 on ways to promote human rights in the reclusive nation. Since the 2017 launch of the Moon Jae-in administration, which proactively sought dialogue with Pyongyang, Seoul and Washington had no such formal diplomatic discussions.

In a report to President Yoon Suk Yeol on its key policy tasks for 2023 last week, Seoul’s foreign ministry said it will seek bilateral consultations on the matter with the U.S. and the European Union in line with the government’s campaign to play a leading role on it in the international community.

In December, Chun Young-hee, who leads the ministry’s Korean Peninsula Peace Regime Bureau, talked about the North Korean human right issue with Scott Busby, deputy assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor. But the department’s position of special envoy for the matter is still vacant.

The Yoon administration is also considering holding relevant discussions with the EU, which has often drafted U.N. resolutions against the human rights abuses in the North, a source said.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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