An angry North Korea, now on the defensive over a U.S. accusation of hacking, refused to take part in a groundbreaking UN Security Council meeting Monday where the country’s bleak human rights situation was discussed for the first time. International pressure has built this year on Pyongyang after a sprawling UN-backed inquiry of alleged crimes against humanity, including starvation and a harsh political prison camp system of up to 120,000 inmates, warned that young leader Kim Jong Un could be held accountable. Around the same time Monday, North Korea experienced sweeping and progressively worse Internet outages, with one computer expert saying the country’s online access is “totally down.” The White House and the State Department declined to say whether the U.S. government was responsible.
Today, we have broken the council’s silence. We have begun to shine a light, and what it has revealed is terrifying.
U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power
The UN’s accusations and the mere threat of damage to Kim Jong Un’s image has outraged the government. North Korea already sent a sharp warning last month, threatening further nuclear tests after the UN General Assembly’s human rights committee voted to move the issue toward the Security Council. Such fury is thought to be behind the Sony hacking. North Korea has denied the attack but has suggested it was a “righteous deed” carried out by sympathizers. U.S. President Barack Obama is weighing how to punish North Korea after the FBI concluded it was behind the hack, and he is reviewing whether to put North Korea back on its list of state sponsors of terrorism.