Go to contents

Hill Says Improving North Korean Human Rights Is Prerequisite for Relations

Hill Says Improving North Korean Human Rights Is Prerequisite for Relations

Posted March. 28, 2007 07:34,   


Korea-U.S. experts said that the February 13 Beijing agreement to address North Korean nuclear issues should be carried forward as a stepping stone for peace on the Korean peninsula and its denuclearization, and that it is important for North Korea to implement the agreement faithfully.

An international conference held at Georgetown University under the joint sponsorship of the Hwajeong Peace Foundation of the Dong-A Ilbo, the Ilmin International Relations Institute, Korea University and the Georgetown Center for Asian studies was attended by experts, and the U.S. administration senior officials on March 26 (local time) at a time when the Peninsula’s situation is changing dramatically after the 2.13 agreement.

On that day, Christopher Hill, head of the U.S. delegation to the six-party talks and Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said at the conference, “To normalize relations between North Korea and the U.S. completely, North Korea should reach an international standard which they are short of in terms of issues such as human rights.”

Assistant Secretary Hill emphasized that North Korea’s denuclearization would make many things possible, but that North Korea should satisfy the international standard in terms of issues such as human rights to have good relation with the U.S. This is the first time he has mentioned other conditions such as North Korea’s human rights clearly as a condition for the complete normalization of Pyongyang-Washington relations.

Hill emphasized that complete denuclearization is America’s firm goal by saying that the U.S. will not cement any relationship with a North Korea that is in possession of nuclear weapons.

He added that it is wrong of Pyongyang to suspend the six-party talks over a remittance delay of BDA bank funds ($25 million dollars), that that the BDA bank funds were not remitted to North Korea due to technical problems, and that they would be fixed within days.

Han Seung-joo, the South Korean ambassador to the United States, said during a keynote address, “The U.S. is still requesting the abandonment of the North Korean nuclear program, but in reality, it appears that they will switch their plan to the goal of preventing the expansion of the North Korean nuclear program. According to an analysis, China agrees with the U.S. that it is important to prevent future North Korean nuclear program ambitions by freezing the current facilities rather than disarming North Korea’s existing nuclear program.”

sechepa@donga.com srkim@donga.com