Kidnap row erupts at UN

Japan and North Korea cross swords as UN passes anti-kidnapping convention.

    The UN says the convention is the first of its kind specifically aginst kidnapping [EPA]

    He said North Korea had already addressed the abduction issue, and accused Japan of deflecting attention from its own "war crimes".
     
    Takase replied: "Nobody could believe that they take this opportunity" to bring up the subject of alleged war crimes.
     
    Responding to the Japanese comments, Song-chol hit back, accusing Japan of using money and political pressure to cover up the alleged Japanese abuction of North Koreans.
     
    The Japanese government officially recognizes that 16 of its citizens were abducted by North Korea from 1977 to 1983, although some estimates place the number as high as 80.
     

    Five Japanese kidnapped by North Korea were
    allowed to return home after 24 years [EPA] 

    North Korea admits to having kidnapped 13 Japanese nationals and has allowed five to return to Japan.
     
    Pyongyang says the other abductees died of natural causes.
     
    Shinzo Abe, the Japanese prime minister who took office in September, has made resolution of the abduction issue a top priority of his administration and the cornerstone of his policy towards North Korea.
     
    On Wednesday the Japanese finance ministry earmarked nearly $4 million in its 2007 budget to address the abductions, a nine-fold rise from the previous year.
     
    The adoption of the UN kidnapping convention came a day after the General Assembly passed a resolution criticizing human rights violations in North Korea, including its silence over abductions of foreign nationals.
     
    General Assembly resolutions are not binding but are intended to reflect world opinion.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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