New US special envoy for N. Korean human rights issues takes office, plans to visit Seoul next week
简介WASHINGTON/SEOUL -- The new US special envoy for North Korean human rights issues took office Friday ...
WASHINGTON/SEOUL -- The new US special envoy for North Korean human rights issues took office Friday, the State Department said, ending more than six years of vacancy at the post.
Ambassador Julie Turner was officially sworn in and plans to travel to Seoul from Monday to Wednesday next week to meet government officials, civic organizations, North Korean escapees and journalists, according to the department.
During her scheduled meetings in Seoul, she plans to discuss her priorities as the special envoy, joint efforts to promote human rights in the reclusive country and ways to facilitate reunions for separated families, it said.
"For decades the United States has championed efforts to improve respect for the human rights and dignity of North Koreans, including members of the most marginalized communities, and to promote accountability for the DPRK government's human rights violations and abuses," the department said in a press release.
DPRK stands for the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
Seoul's foreign ministry said Turner will meet with Foreign Minister Park Jin and separately with Chun Young-hee, director general for the Korean Peninsula peace regime, on Monday and discuss efforts to coordinate over North Korean human rights issues.
Turner will also attend an event later that day to discuss the North's human rights with civic activists and young Korean people, including North Korean defectors.
In January, President Joe Biden designated Turner, then the director of the Office of East Asia and the Pacific in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, as the special envoy.
The Senate endorsed her on July 27, which coincided with the 70th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that halted the 1950-53 Korean War.
At a Senate confirmation hearing in May, Turner introduced herself as a Korean American adoptee who had a childhood dream to "serve the country that welcomed me."
She enumerated a set of her priorities, including working with South Korea and other allies to "reenergize" international efforts to promote human rights and increase access to uncensored information in the North.
She also pledged to seek to reinvigorate "accountability" efforts at the United Nations against those responsible for human rights violations in the North.
The last special envoy was Robert R. King, who resigned from the position in January 2017. (Yonhap)
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