A European Union official confirmed that North Korea has invited the EU’s special representative for human rights to visit, which would be a significant step toward resuming a human rights dialogue that Pyongyang broke off in 2003.
For North Korea to offer any dialogue on human rights, a topic which its government until recently would not discuss, is seen as significant by the international community. But such an offer also has been greeted with skepticism by rights groups and some diplomats.
North Korea also has offered the possibility of visits by United Nations rights officials, but the North Korea diplomat, Kim Un Chol, said that those offers would be dropped unless a U.N. resolution on the country removes any reference to the International Criminal Court.
North Korea has been on the defensive since a U.N. commission of inquiry early this year detailed what it said were vast human rights abuses in the impoverished but nuclear-armed country and warned that leader Kim Jong Un could be held accountable.