Seoul's Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that human rights are a matter of universal value in regards to the rights issue in North Korea. 

Spokesman Noh Kyu-duk made the remark during a regular briefing in response to a comment by a UN official that human rights should be included in the agenda for the Korean Peninsula’s peace building process.

In a news conference in Seoul, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in North Korea Tomas Ojea Quintana called for the human rights issue to be included in efforts for a peace regime.

Asked about the government's stance, spokesman Noh said that South Korea will closely cooperate with the international community so that the recent expansion in inter-Korean exchanges can have a positive impact in substantially improving human rights for North Korean residents.

In the news conference, the UN rapporteur welcomed the overall peace mood on the Korean Peninsula but expressed regret that human rights are being sidelined.

Quintana noted that neither the Panmunjeom Declaration nor the North Korea-U.S. summit statement includes an explicit use of human rights terminology, adding that there can be no "genuine, peaceful and sustainable transition" without resolving the rights issue.

[Photo : YONHAP News]