North Korea demands US apology for not using official name
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — North Korea demanded an apology from the United States on Wednesday for what it called “insolent outrageous behavior” in refusing to refer to the country by its official name — the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
North Korean counsellor Ri Song Chol made the demand at a meeting of the U.N. General Assembly committee dealing with relations that the United States, calling the Trump administration’s action a serious political issue “related to sovereignty of an independent member state of the United Nations.”
He said the administration is driven by “dishonest and impure motivation to politicize every single protocol issue.”
Ri said his mission made a routine request to the U.S. Mission to renew a tax exemption card for one of its diplomats in early December and was very surprised when a week later the new card came back with the country’s name as “North Korea.” The cards allow U.N. diplomats to make purchases without paying tax.
The mission assumed it was a “technical mistake,” Ri said, but was shocked to hear from the U.S. Mission that the State Department in Washington refused to change the country’s name to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
He quoted a reply from the U.S. Mission saying “our DC office” said names on credentials for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea “indicate North Korea which is the conventional short abbreviation ... so the tax card will remain the same.”
Ri said the DPRK “strongly requested” the U.S. “to correct the mistake at once with no further delay,” and to send a formal document clarifying its new protocol policy on using abbreviated names instead of formal official names.
He told The Associated Press that he and a desk officer from the DPRK Mission also met with a diplomat from the U.S. Mission to try get the name changed. He said the DPRK desk officer exchanged more than 10 emails with the U.S. diplomat.
But Ri told the Committee on Relations with the Host Country that the DPRK has not received a response “and the problem still remains (the) same without any progress.”
However, Ri said that before the start of Wednesday’s meeting the U.S. Mission told a diplomat from Cyprus who is a member of the host country committee “that they’re going to fix as soon as possible — please inform the DPRK delegate about their intention to fix the problem.”
“We are pleased to hear that, but we made our statement,” Ri said.