S. Korea’s FM to attend UN human rights, disarmament conference in Geneva

South Korea's foreign minister will attend the U.N human rights council session and disarmament conference in Geneva as the country joins others in pushing North Korea to give up its nukes, the government said Tuesday.

The foreign ministry said Yun Byung-se will make keynote speeches at the Conference on Disarmament and at the human rights meeting slated for Wednesday.

Yun's speeches, which are expected to take place following the passage of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution to penalize the North for its January nuclear test and the firing of a long-range missile last month, could help put pressure on the isolationist country. The resolution is likely to be passed unanimously.

Before leaving for Geneva, Yun stressed he will highlight the need for all countries to follow through on the UNSC sanctions and for the international community to pay greater attention to the plight of ordinary North Koreans.

"Through concerted efforts, Seoul aims to make clear its stance on North Korea's nuclear and human rights issues and strengthen international cooperation on such matters," the policymaker said.

Diplomatic sources said that North Korea's Foreign Minister Ri Su-yong will also be present at the human rights meeting and deliver a speech at the event, although he is not on the list of people who will speak at the disarmament talks.

This could potentially lead to the two men squaring off at the gathering. This year marks the second time in a row that Ri will be present for the human rights conference.

Besides touching on North Korea, Yun plans to urge Japan to fully implement the deal reached in late 2015 to alleviate the plight of women forced to be sex slaves for the Japanese military in the first half of the 20th century.

Seoul has maintained that only by fully implementing the agreement will the two countries be able to put the past behind them and forge a better future.

Historians estimate that more than 200,000 women, mostly from Korea, were forced to work in front-line brothels for the Japanese military during the war. Korea was under Japanese colonial rule from 1910-45.

Source: Yonhap news Agency