Conflict & Justice

Minute of silence for Kim Jong Il boycotted at UN


South Korean protesters participate in a rally celebrating the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il on Dec. 19, 2011 in Seoul.


Chung Sung-Jun

A minute’s silence requested by North Korea at the UN General Assembly to mark the death of Kim Jong Il has been boycotted by the United States, Japan, South Korea and European nations – who dubbed it “inappropriate,” Agencies France Presse reported.

Following the boycott, North Korea accused South Korea of an "intolerable" response to Kim’s death, from a heart attack last Saturday.

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General Assembly president Nassir Abdulaziz al-Nasser called on all envoys "to stand and observe a minute of silence in tribute to the memory of the late leader," but only a third of the UN’s 193 members were present.

The North is said to be seeking international recognition for Kim, and the UN tribute is its highest profile attempt at this.

Meanwhile on a post on its official website, North Korea has said it will welcome any South Korean delegations that want to visit the capital Pyongyang to offer their condolences, CNN reported.

According to the post, on, the North has taken steps to open all air and land routes through the border town of Kaesong.

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The North also promised to ensure the safety of South Korean visitors.

However Seoul, which by law must authorize all contact between the two countries, has said it will only allow two delegations to attend Kim's funeral, to take place on Wednesday.

The government of the South expressed its sympathy to the people of the North on Tuesday.