SEOUL — As momentum builds for another summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the harsh reality of North Korean human rights issues threatens to undermine any potential peace or denuclearization agreements, a key United Nations official warned on Friday.
Tomás Ojea Quintana, U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in North Korea, told reporters that any deal would be “fragile” if North Korea’s dismal human rights record is not part of the equation.
“Any accord that the parties could reach will remain fragile unless human rights issues are not discussed and unless there is a plan how to address that situation in North Korea,” he said.
Quintana’s was on a research trip to South Korea this week to gather material for a report that he will present to the U.N. Human Rights Council in March. He met with government officials and members of civil society and interviewed recent defectors from North Korea.
The human rights issue was sidelined during Kim’s summits last year with Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, but Quintana said it is vital that it becomes part of the dialogue this year.
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