Criticism and Tensions Escalate as North Korea Denounces New U.S. Special Envoy for Human Rights


North Korea has expressed strong disapproval of the recent appointment of Julie Turner as the U.S. special envoy for North Korean human rights, referring to her as a “wicked woman” with a history of plotting anti-Pyongyang campaigns and interfering in the internal affairs of sovereign states.

Julie Turner, previously the director of East Asia and the Pacific at the State Department, was confirmed by the Senate last week after being named the envoy by U.S. President Joe Biden in January.

The Association for Human Rights Studies in North Korea, in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), criticized Turner, questioning her nationality and origin and alleging that she gained “notoriety” for plotting against North Korea over human rights issues in the past, using harsh language against the country.

The North Korean official went on to describe Turner as “ignorant of even the concept of human rights” and accused her of embodying the U.S.’s habit of meddling in sovereign states’ internal affairs and slandering them. North Korea perceived her appointment as a clear sign of Washington’s hostile intentions toward the nation, warning of possible “powerful and merciless counteraction.”

The official also condemned the Biden administration’s criticism of North Korea’s human rights situation, describing it as a poor policy driven by the DPRK-U.S. nuclear confrontation.

In her confirmation hearing before the Senate foreign relations committee in May, Turner stated her commitment to holding accountable those responsible for human rights violations and abuses in North Korea.

It is worth noting that the position of U.S. special envoy for North Korean human rights had remained vacant for six years before Julie Turner’s appointment, following the departure of Robert King in 2017, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama.

North Korea has consistently rejected international criticism of its human rights record, viewing it as a U.S.-led effort to undermine the regime.

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