WASHINGTON — The Trump administration has refused to support a move by members of the United Nations Security Council to hold a discussion Tuesday on North Korea’s rampant human rights abuses, effectively blocking the meeting for the second year in a row.
The American action appeared aimed at muting international criticism of Pyongyang’s human rights record in the hope of preserving a tenuous diplomatic opening between President Trump and Kim Jong-un, the authoritarian leader of North Korea. Tensions between Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim have broken out into the open in recent days.
On Monday, North Korea called Mr. Trump a “heedless and erratic old man” after the American president warned that Mr. Kim could lose “everything” if he resumed military provocations like nuclear or long-range missile tests before the 2020 elections in the United States.
A proposed meeting of the Security Council on Tuesday had been intended to put a spotlight on North Korea on Human Rights Day , which is held every Dec. 10 to mark the day in 1948 when the General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Eight of the council’s 15 members had signed a letter to schedule the meeting but needed a ninth member — the minimum required.
United Nations diplomats, confirming a report in Foreign Policy, said the United States had declined to sign.