US: Korea Chairing Disarmament Body ‘No Big Deal’

Posted July 11th, 2011 at 4:20 pm (UTC-5)
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The United States says it has no plans to take any particular action against a U.N. disarmament body that has awarded North Korea its rotating presidency.

A State Department spokeswoman said Monday that North Korea's four-week tenure as head of the Geneva-based 65-nation U.N. Conference on Disarmament is “inconsequential,” because it is a relatively low-level event.

The spokeswoman said Washington does not see any damage that Pyongyang can cause by its role in the consensus-based organization. She added that the decision will not affect U.S. policy on disarmament or the focus of its attention, which is the P-5 plus one process, or the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany.

Canadian press reports say Canada plans to boycott the conference during North Korea's tenure.

Reuters news agency quotes Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird as saying, “It is just absurd to have North Korea in the chair.” He noted that the government is a major proliferator of nuclear weapons, and that its noncompliance with its disarmament obligations goes against the fundamental principles of the conference.