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[Editorial] Ruling Party’s Concern for the U.S. Bill on N. Korea’s Human Rights Not Proper

[Editorial] Ruling Party’s Concern for the U.S. Bill on N. Korea’s Human Rights Not Proper

Posted October. 01, 2004 22:06,   


Regarding the U.S. bill on North Korea’s human rights, the Uri Party spokesman said, “We cannot help but be concerned of the possibility of an increase of North Korean defectors and enhanced tensions in the South and North relationship that could be caused by this law.” Chairman Lee Bu-young also said, “We are worried that this law may force North Korea to be more open and will result in more tension in the South-North relationship that will influence our economy, which has been already considered as unfavorable by investors, in a negative way.”

This is not appropriate. First of all, it is not desirable to keep mentioning negatively about a bill that has already confirmed. Our ally proposed this bill to protect human rights, which enhances the basic values of human beings. What is the reason for being an ally if we appear to only criticize the ally’s effort to enhance the basic values of humankind, instead of appreciating it?

Furthermore, we need to coordinate well with the U.S. to minimize political side effects that we may face in exercising the bill. It is hard to expect effective coordination when we have an attitude that appears to be dissatisfied with the bill itself. We need to make it clear that there is no difference in opinion between South Korea and the U.S. regarding the great cause of “North Korea’s human rights situation should be improved.” That is a basic rule in diplomacy between allies.

Of course, there are some parts that are understandable in the Uri Party’s response. It is true that the bill might deteriorate the relationship between the North and the U.S., and it may affect the South and the North relationship as well, influencing our government peacemaking policies negatively. Nonetheless, the North Korean human rights should not be left in the current condition forever. Hasn’t the recent mass escape of North Koreans already become a pressing issue in the international society?

What is important here is changing the way we see this problem. We should no longer hang on to such a passive thought, thinking that avoiding mentioning about human rights in N. Korea as much as possible will help our relationship with the North. We need to persuade the North to improve its human rights, and if necessary, we should seriously consider linking N. Korea’s human rights condition to our economic supports toward N. Korea. The National Human Rights Commission of Korea also should raise it as an official issue. It is negligent on our duty if we stay silent for the miserable human rights condition of North Koreans, who are citizens of the Republic of Korea according to our constitution.