North Korea Set to Take Leadership of UN Nuclear Conference

The United Nations has announced that North Korea will take over the chairmanship of the U.N. Conference on Disarmament this year. The stunning news that the dangerous rogue aspiring nuclear power will rotate into the leadership position comes even as severe U.N. sanctions against it remain in place.

The Conference on Disarmament produced the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty during the height of the Cold War in 1968, and will now be led by the North Koreans as of May 30.

Shortly after North Korea conducted a new round of ballistic missile tests in January, the New York Post described the announcement as “fresh proof of the lunacy of the U.N.” It also declared that any nation that “actually cares about disarmament” should boycott the Conference. The U.S. and Canada protested in that manner in 2013 when Iran was named to hold the chair.

U.N. Watch is a non-governmental international organization based in Switzerland and has said it will protest the appointment of North Korea as chair of the conference. The group’s executive director Hillel Neuer had widespread support when he called for a boycott on Thursday. He said that having Kim Jong-un’s regime preside over discussion of nuclear disarmament is like “putting a serial rapist in charge of a women’s shelter.”

Neuer added that “torture and starvation” are standard procedure in North Korea’s political prisons where it is believed 100,000 dissidents are held. He also pointed out that the reclusive communist dictatorship routinely threatens other members of the U.N. with its missiles and nuclear program.

U.N. Watch also pointed out that the position leading the conference is not merely ceremonial. The North Korean ambassador to the U.N. Han Tae-song will be charged with setting the conference’s agenda and organizing its work activities.

Neuer also said that the appointment produces a “fundamental conflict of interests” that will certainly be used by Kim Jong-un to attempt to bring an appearance of legitimacy to his dictatorship.

Officials of the South Korean military said that North Korea has conducted more missile tests as recently as last week. Three missiles were reportedly test fired on Wednesday, including the most advanced design used by the North Koreans, a Hwasong-17.

Additional reports this month indicate that North Korea has restarted work at a nuclear test site where intelligence data indicates it is developing a nuclear warhead detonator. Those tests were apparently conducted so that they would coincide with Joe Biden’s recent trip to South Korea.