Yesterday during a press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, President Trump reiterated his surprise plan to visit North Korea and speak with leader Kim Jong-Un in the coming weeks.
The planned meeting follows years of unproductive attempts to get North Korea to denuclearize, ranging from traditional diplomacy conducted during the Obama administration to Trump taunting Kim as "rocket man" from the floor of the United Nations. Which might have you wondering, is North Korea in the UN?
Is North Korea in the UN?
Yes, North Korea is in the UN. The country was admitted to the United Nations in 1991, along with South Korea. North Korea is not a member of the UN Security Council, a group of 15 nations who have the primary responsibility for maintaining world peace.
North Korea's current representative to the UN is Ja Song Nam, who has held the position since 2014. He surfaced in the news at the end of 2017, when he tangled with then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson about North Korea's nuclear program.
North Korea's ambassador to the UN, Ja Song-nam, during a UN Security Council meeting. Photo: Getty Images
Concurrent with its time in the General Assembly, North Korea has been condemned by the United Nations. In 1993, the GA adopted a resolution urging North Korea to reconsider its withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Since then, several resolutions have been adopted levying and extending sanctions on North Korea for its continued nuclear testing.
North Korea in UN: There's some tension
Every year since 2005, the UN General Assembly has passed a resolution condemning human-rights violations in North Korea. (Probably why you weren't sure what the answer was to the question is North Korea in the UN.) In 2013, the UN Human Rights Council launched an investigation into those abuses. The resulting report, released in February 2014, found that North Korea continually violated human rights, including freedom of thought, expression and religion; freedom from discrimination; freedom of movement and residence; and the right to food.
The report found that North Korea was perpetrating "crimes against humanity," including "extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds, the forcible transfer of populations, the enforced disappearance of persons and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation."