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South Urged to Engage North on Human Rights

Posted December. 10, 2005 07:51,   


On the second day of the “2005 Seoul Summit: Promoting Human Rights in North Korea,” participants adopted the Seoul Declaration, urging the South Korean government to actively engage in human rights issues in the North, and urging its North Korean counterpart to stop human rights violations.

“The South Korean government, who should express affection toward North Korean more than any other country, has repeatedly abstained from voting on the UN resolution on North Korean Human Rights. Any logic that forces North Koreans to sacrifice can not be justified,” said the participants that day.

Regarding U.S. Ambassador to Korea Alexander Vershbow’s comment on describing the North as a “criminal regime,” Jay Lefkowitz, Special Envoy on Human Rights in North Korea, said in a news conference that, “the U.S. government and Mr. Vershbow have no intention of backing down on the ambassador’s description.”

When asked, “Do you intend to retreat on your comments regarding the North,” Ambassador Vershbow answered, “I only said what I had to. My judgment on North Korean government’s criminal activities is accurate,” according to YTN.

“President Bush has a great interest in improving human rights and the lives of the North Korean people. It is now time to take action to improve the dire human rights situation in the North,” he also said in a keynote speech.

Myoung-Gun Lee Jung-Ahn Kim gun43@donga.com credo@donga.com