North Korea accuses US of politicizing human rights issues

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Special Envoy on North Korean Human Rights Issues Julie Turner in Tokyo

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea accused the United States on Saturday of politicizing human rights in the East Asian country, denouncing what it called political provocation and conspiracy.

Pyongyang will make stern and decisive choices to protect its sovereignty and safety in response to Washington using human rights as a tool for invasion and hostile, anti-North Korea behaviour, state media KCNA quoted a foreign ministry spokesperson as saying.

The spokesperson cited a special envoy on human rights in the administration of President Joe Biden. The envoy on North Korean human rights issues, Julie Turner, visited Seoul and Tokyo in February to discuss North Korea.

An annual report this week by the State Department described "significant human rights issues" in North Korea.

It cited credible reports of "arbitrary or unlawful killings, including extrajudicial killings; enforced disappearance; torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment by government authorities".

North Korea also criticised the U.S. for urging it to stop launching missiles and other rockets for what Washington calls violations of U.N. resolutions, KCNA said, mentioning a South Korean satellite launch in April.

"We will carry out our critical mission as planned to enhance our space reconnaissance capabilities to ensure the security of our country," KCNA said in a statement citing a spokesperson for North Korea's National Aerospace Development Administration.

(Reporting by Hyunsu Yim; Editing by Sandra Maler and William Mallard)