North Korea finds rare moral high ground on Paris Agreement on Climate Change

A Pyongyang official was highly critical of Donald Trump's decision to remove the USA from the global accord

North Korea finds rare moral high ground on Paris Agreement on Climate Change

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un celebrates on state TV during a recent missile launch [AP/Press Association Images]

After months of controversial missile launches and decades of an oppressive regime, North Korea has condemned US President Donald Trump for pulling the USA out of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Condemning it as a “shortsighted and silly decision,” Pyongyang issued a statement via the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

The words, attributed to a spokesman for the ministry, adds that “global warming is one of the gravest challenges humankind is facing today,” and praised the global community for coming together in the French capital to turn the tide away from inevitable catastrophic climate collapse.

Addressing Trump’s June 1st announcement that he would remove the United States from the global agreement ratified by everyone but Syria and Nicaragua, the unnamed official criticised the so-called “America first” policy espoused by the Republican president.

“This is the height of egotism and moral vacuum seeking only their own well-being at the cost of the entire planet,” the statement says.

A landmark climate deal, the Paris Accord was signed in 2015 by more than 190 nations, all voluntarily pledging to set their own greenhouse gas emission targets. Syria failed to sign the agreement as the country remains gripped by a brutal civil war, while Nicaraguan diplomats argued that the Paris outcomes did not go far enough in resolving the crisis everyone is facing.

While North Korea remains one of the world’s most insular and despotic regimes, the impoverished Communist state ratified the Paris Agreement.

In December 2015, the country’s Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong addressed delegates in Paris by announcing that Kim Jong Un had “declared war on deforestation.” He added that North Korea aimed to cut its carbon footprint by “37.4% compared with the levels of the 1990s.”

Decades of fractured diplomatic relationships with everyone else in the world mean North Korea is in a particularly precarious position in light of climate change; repeated food shortages and famines have cost many North Koreans their lives and in the past, reports of citizens eating tree bark and roots have emerged.

The country’s signing up to the Paris Accord was widely praised by the global community, marking a rare occasion when the isolationist state has engaged in global diplomacy.

“Whoever chooses to blindly follow the Trump administration overpowered by its bravado should be fully aware that the judgment of history shall take them all as one,” the North Korean Foreign Ministry statement concludes.

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