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N Korea warns of "strong" action against UN in Seoul

North Korea on Monday warned of "strong" action against a UN office which will be set up in South Korea to monitor human rights violations in the communist country.

SEOUL: North Korea on Monday warned of "strong" action against a UN office which will be set up in South Korea to monitor human rights violations in the communist country.

The North's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea slammed South Korea for accepting a request from the Geneva-based Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to open a field office in Seoul.

"So, we will strongly react against it. Needless to say, the 'office' and its staff are not excepted from being targets of this action," a committee spokesman said in a statement published by Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency

The UN office in Seoul is "an anti-DPRK (North Korea) plot-breeding organisation aimed at launching aggression and bringing down the social system" in the North, the spokesman said, without specifying what action might follow.

Seoul decided in late May to allow the establishment of the UN office, a move welcomed by rights bodies as a public manifestation of international concern over the state of human rights in North Korea.

The UN Human Rights Council in Geneva has expressed hope that the new office will improve the efficiency of investigations into human rights violations in the North, and could even reduce their frequency and intensity.

In a resolution following a report by UN investigators, the council in March condemned "systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations" in the North, which is estimated to have 80,000 to 120,000 political prisoners.

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