Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Principles vs Human Rights

This article was printed in the Washington Post today.

With all the drama surrounding the Beijing Olympics, the human rights issue is once again becoming a hot topic in the region. It seems like human rights become a hot topic every couple of years. This has coincided with South Korea's harder line on North Korea and North Korean human rights have once again become an issue. The article above is criticizing South Korea's moves because taking a hard line on North Korea just leads to more human suffering in the country. But what do you do? When dealing with North Korea, you are between a rock and a hard place. North Korea does not take the necessary measures to help ensure the survival of its people, and if others pressure them to do so, North Korea reacts negatively and the people suffer worse. So you either let North Korea let their people starve or deny them aid/cause them to reject aid.. and let the people starve. What is the point in regime survival and ideological triumph if there are no people left to rejoice?


Inyeop Lee said...

It is very sensitive issue. How can we improve the human right situations in NK?
We should not neglect the human rights abuse in NK and serious problems of NK refugees in China. However, attempts to press NK to improve human rights could lead NK more to be more defensive and paranoidal. Human right issue is also could be misused politically to push hard-line policy to squeeze NK which tends to be counter-productive.

I think we need certain degree of normalization between NK and the U.S. by denuclearization and security guarantee to fundamentally improve the human right situation in NK.

Joo-Eun Kim said...

I totally agree with Inyeop. The U.S. has to guarantee North Korea's security that North Korea regime could less focus on its military and start using the rice aids to its people. Right now, North Korea does not have spare time to take care of its people. It is focusing too much on its military to protect its regime from hostile U.S. foreign policy toward North Korea not to become like Iraq. Therefore, I think the United States to normalize its relationship with North Korea for certain degree.