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S Korean Foreign Minister to Raise Issue of N Korea's Chemical Weapons - Reports

© AFP 2021 / JUNG YEON-JE A South Korean soldier (R) walks past a television screen reporting news of North Korea's latest submarine-launched ballistic missile test at a railway station in Seoul on August 25, 2016
A South Korean soldier (R) walks past a television screen reporting news of North Korea's latest submarine-launched ballistic missile test at a railway station in Seoul on August 25, 2016 - Sputnik International
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South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se will raise the issues of North Korea's chemical weapons and human rights abuses during the UN Human Rights Council's session and the Disarmament Conference in Geneva, media reported Sunday.

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MOSCOW (Sputnik) — According to the Yonhap news agency, Yun is going to visit Geneva on Monday and Tuesday to raise the issue of Pyongyang's chemical weapons stockpiles.

In line with South Korean military estimates, provided by Yonhap, North Korea's stockpile of chemical weapons had reached up to 5,000 tonnes, making it the third largest after the United States and Russia.

The news agency added that the South Korean foreign minister would also express Seoul's concern about the situation with human rights in North Korea, which had been repeatedly accused by various human rights organizations of forced labor, children labor, enslavement, rape, forced abortions, starvation rations and extermination.

The decision to present a speech at the conferences comes in the light of the recent assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's half-brother Kim Jong Nam. He was killed on February 13 in Malaysia by a VX nerve agent, classified by the United Nations as a weapon of mass destruction, sprayed in his face as he was about to board a flight to Macau. The Malaysian police suspect North Korean intelligence to be behind the assassination.

The Conference on disarmament is an event held annually, which dates back to 1979 and provides platform for negotiations concerning chemical and biological weapons control. The conference comprises 65 countries across the world. This year, the first round of the conference started on January 23 and is due to last until March 31. The UN Human Rights Council's session will take place from February 27 to March 24.

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