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The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has been elected to the executive board of the World Health Organization (WHO).
The North Korean Ministry of Public Health’s Dr. Jong Min Pak has been seated on the WHO’s executive board with a term set to last until 2026.
The communist state’s new position on the board allows them say in determining the organization’s agenda and policy prescriptions.
The decision sparked immediate criticism from the government of neighboring South Korea, which pointed to North Korea’s history of ignoring policies put forward by the WHO and its parent organization, the United Nations.
SOUTH KOREA RECOVERS PIECE FROM NORTH KOREA’S FAILED SPY SATELLITE ROCKET LAUNCH: ‘SERIOUS DEFECTS’
The World Health Organisation logo is seen near its headquarters in Geneva. (REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo)
“It is questionable whether North Korea, which has continued to contravene [United Nations Security Council] resolutions and disregard the U.N.’s authority, meets the standards for a WHO executive board member, which should abide by international norms, pursued by the U.N., and contribute to enhancing global health,” the South Korean foreign and health ministries said of the decision.
Other representatives newly elected to the board include experts from Australia, Barbados, Cameroon, Qatar, Switzerland and and Ukraine.
NORTH KOREA MISSILE LAUNCH THAT PUT SOUTH KOREA, JAPAN ON HIGH ALERT ENDS IN FAILURE
In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends a military parade to mark the 75th founding anniversary of the Korean People’s Army on Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)
The World Health Organization serves as a specialized agency of the United Nations, falling under the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Group.
The organization was created in 1948 in conjunction with the U.N.’s creation and is given a broad mandate as the international governing body monitoring public health risks and overseeing responses to emergencies.
Headquartered out of Geneva, the WHO has 194 member states and operates on an annual budget of about $2.1 billion.
LEADERS OF EUROPEAN UNION, SOUTH KOREA AGREE TO INCREASE PRESSURE ON RUSSIA, CONDEMN NORTH KOREA MISSILE TESTS
Texas Rep. Chip Roy released a brief message on social media calling for the WHO to be defended over the election.
“Not a single taxpayer cent should fund this Communist garbage #DefundWHO,” wrote Roy.
A rocket launched from North Korea early Wednesday morning put neighboring South Korea and Japan on high alert before ultimately ending in failure.
This photo provided by the North Korean government shows what it says is a test of a rocket with the test satellite at the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground in North Korea. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)
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State media reported that the rocket carrying the satellite crashed into waters off the Korean Peninsula’s western coast after it lost thrust following the separation of its first and second stages. It said scientists were examining the cause of the failure.
Following the launch, officials in South Korea’s capital, Seoul, sent alerts over public speakers and smartphones for residents to prepare for evacuation, but there were no immediate reports of damages or disruption.
Fox News Digital’s Hollie McKay and Bradford Betz contributed to this report.
Timothy Nerozzi is a writer for Fox News Digital. You can follow him on Twitter @timothynerozzi and can email him at [email protected]