Go to contents

Antony Blinken tweets about racial issues

Posted December. 23, 2020 07:30,   

Updated December. 23, 2020 07:31


He is too quiet for the amount of attention he draws from countries around the world. He left about 10 or so tweets in the last month. This is Antony Blinken who was appointed as the next Secretary of State by U.S. President-elect Joe Biden.

Although not very active, his tweets have consistency as most of them are about his stance on the recent racial issues across the world – warning to and criticism about countries that have no respect for human rights.

Blinken’s interest in human rights issues is related to his family background as his grandparents and parents are the victims of human rights infringement. Blinken talked about his family history in detail during his speech to accept the appointment as a state secretary last month. His grandfather fled pogroms in Russia and his grandmother fled communist Hungary as a young girl to the U.S. His stepfather whom his mother married when Blinken was in elementary school was the only one to survive the Holocaust out of 900 children in Bialystok, Poland. This is not all. He tweeted the video where he mentioned his family again this month, adding, “Their stories inspired me to serve.” It almost reads like his determination to not overlook human rights issues when he takes office.

Blinken is often called the alter ego of Biden. The two have worked together for 20 years since Biden was in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and shared the same belief in key policies. In fact, they share similar views about North Korea as Blinken described North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as a tyrant, and the president-elect called Kim a thug during a previous presidential debate.

Some say that the Biden administration may impose more sanctions against North Korea on the issues of human rights issues, etc. if the North does not come to the table. Focusing on North Korea’s human rights issues seems to be the next step for the Biden administration, which announced that it will scrap the America-first policy of President Donald Trump and govern based on democracy, human rights, and law.

Amid the situation, the law forcefully passed by South Korea’s ruling party to ban the distribution of propaganda leaflets into North Korea is rising as an international human rights issue. Not only international human rights organizations but also the U.S. government and Congress and the U.K. Parliament are expressing suspicions about the South Korean government’s protection of human rights.

The problem is that once the Biden administration is launched South Korea’s new law is likely to become a sharp issue between the two countries. When North Korean human rights organizations attempt to distribute leaflets and the South Korean government implements the law, the international community’s concerns about human rights violations may become realized. Tensions and confusions only grow when the ruling party dismisses the international community’s concerns as interference in domestic affairs and forces the enactment of laws. Criticism of human rights issues, which are the universal values, should be rightfully accepted.

In-Chan Hwang hic@donga.com