U.S. Ends Push for Human Rights Meeting Criticized by North Korea Due to Lack of Support, Report Says

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North Korean supeme leader Kim Jong Un(L) is seen during the Third Inter-Korean summit in the Peace House building on the southern side of the truce village of Panmunjom on April 27, alongside a photo of President Donald Trump during a post-election press conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, November 7. The two men have brought their nations into uncharted territory by meeting directly and seeking a denuclearization peace deal. KOREA SUMMIT PRESS POOL/MANDEL NGAN/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

The United States has reportedly ended its push to hold a United Nations meeting regarding widespread allegations of human rights abuses in North Korea, which deeply opposed the move.

The U.N. Security Council has held such meetings for annually since 2013, but this year the U.S. could not muster the support of nine members needed to advance the motion, Reuters cited diplomats as saying Friday. Only eight out of the 15 nations on the council were said to have supported the meeting.

The U.S. has regularly led efforts to hold U.N. meetings and pass resolutions condemning North Korea due to its alleged human rights abuses and its development of nuclear weapons, but this would have been the first such gathering to take place amid the backdrop of unprecedented, yet fragile peace talks between Washington and Pyongyang.

While China, North Korea's greatest traditional ally, has traditionally opposed such U.N. meetings, the positions of the other 13 Security Council members—Bolivia, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, France, the Ivory Coast, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Russia, Sweden and the United Kingdom—remained unknown.

GettyImages-1060700942
North Korean supeme leader Kim Jong Un(L) is seen during the Third Inter-Korean summit in the Peace House building on the southern side of the truce village of Panmunjom on April 27, alongside a photo of President Donald Trump during a post-election press conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, November 7. The two men have brought their nations into uncharted territory by meeting directly and seeking a denuclearization peace deal. KOREA SUMMIT PRESS POOL/MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

The government of North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong Un has vigorously defended its human rights record abroad, accusing nations such as the U.S. of using the U.N. as a pretext to undermining the ruler. Pyongyang reacted with outrage last week in the wake of the U.N. Human Rights Committee's decision to adopt a resolution condemning North Korea's "longstanding and ongoing systematic, widespread and gross violations of human rights" ahead of the planned U.S. meeting.

"The reason that the Americans are so obsessed with this absurdity is that they want to sully the image of our republic," a commentary read in the ruling Korean Workers' Party official newspaper Rodong Sinmun, alleging that they planned to "to justify their racket for sanctions and pressure and to extract our concessions in their negotiations with us."

That same day, the Associated Press published excerpts of a letter said to be addressed to all U.N. Security Council members except by the U.S. by North Korea's U.N. ambassador Kim Song. The diplomat argued that the U.S. and others "are trying to employ all possible wicked and sinister methods" to hold the human rights meeting on December 10.

He noted the recent warming of ties between the two Koreas as a sign that the region was changing for the better, saying "until last year, the Korean peninsula was a region where [the] possibility of an armed conflict and a nuclear war ran higher than any other region in the world."

"But, thanks to the peace-loving efforts of the DPRK, the atmosphere of peace and stability has recently settled down in the Korean peninsula," he added, using an acronym for his country's official title, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. "Nonetheless, to our deep surprise and regret, the Security Council is about to swim against the current trend by way of seeking to irritate a dialogue counterpart and stoke confrontation, instead of encouraging and promoting the ongoing positive developments."

The meeting may not come this year, however, as the U.S. reportedly dropped its bid absent of any public statements. The move could be the latest sign that ties between the longtime foes were improving and that talks were progressing in spite of what publicly appeared to be a slowdown in their historic peace process. North Korea has pledged to abandon the nuclear weapons it has long argued were vital for its survival in exchange for peace and a lifting of sanctions.

Despite White House national security adviser John Bolton saying Tuesday that North Korea had "not lived up to the commitments so far" allegedly made during a landmark summit between Trump and Kim Jong Un in June, he affirmed that a second meeting was being planned for sometime in January or February.