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N. Korea Slams U.S. on Human Rights

June 12, 2002

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SEOUL, South Korea (AP) _ North Korea said Wednesday that the United States was guilty of human rights violations and should not criticize the records of other countries.

A state-run newspaper in North Korea made the statement two days after U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said the communist country was subjecting its people to ``a hell of deprivation and oppression.″

Washington should ``mind its own business before talking about human rights issues in other countries,″ Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party, said in an editorial.

``However, it is loudmouthed about them in a bid to conceal its serious human rights and religious abuses and justify its interference in the internal affairs of other countries,″ Rodong said.

The commentary was carried by the North’s foreign news outlet, KCNA.

The newspaper cited an Amnesty International report last month that alleged Washington fought the war on terrorism at the expense of human rights.

Amnesty International criticized the U.S. government for the indefinite detainment of foreigners being investigated for terrorism links following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

In New York on Monday, Powell said Washington was ready to reopen talks with North Korea on its missile program and other issues. But he harshly criticized its human rights record.

``North Korea’s dangerously deluded policies drag its people further and further into a hell of deprivation and oppression,″ Powell said at an Asia Society dinner.

The North’s leaders ``grow missiles and weapons of mass destruction instead of food for their starving and destitute people,″ he said.

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