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How to Deal with North Korea

March 11, 2014 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea long has been recognized as one of the globe’s most difficult challenges. For two decades concern over Pyongyang’s nuclear program has dominated international attention toward the Korean peninsula. The new United Nations report on the North’s human-rights practices reminds us that the DPRK most directly is a threat to its own people.

Washington needs to develop a positive package for a reform North Korean leadership: peace treaty, trade, aid and integration.”

What to do about the North Korean problem has troubled three successive U.S. administrations. All have variously tried engagement and isolation, without success; embraced South Korea and Japan, allied states threatened by Pyongyang; and pressed China, the North’s only ally, to intervene. The result is a tentative nuclear state seemingly ruled by an immature third-generation dictator willing to terrorize even his own family. At least there have been few direct consequences for America, which has sufficient military capacity to deter all but the insane or suicidal, neither of which, thankfully, appears to characterize the leaders in Pyongyang.

Not so lucky are the residents of North Korea, however. There never has been any question about the extraordinary nature of DPRK tyranny. Among others, The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea has published devastating reports on North Korean human-rights practices. But the United Nations just released its own gruesome analysis. The UN typically fillsits official human-rights bodies with human-rights offenders—China, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Gaddafi’s Libya, etc. However, Pyongyang’s practices are so grotesque that even the normally tolerant world body took notice.

The UN issued 372 pages of detailed findings. But the 36-page summary report alone is devastating. The finding is simple: “systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations have been and are being committed” by the DPRK. “In many instances, the violations found entailed crimes against humanity based on State policies.” While far too many nations today mistreat and even murder their peoples, North Korea’s policies are extraordinary and extreme by any standard.

Yet the challenge facing the U.S. and other nations regarding human rights in the North is a lot like the security problem: what to do? The Kim dynasty has demonstrated no interest in disarming. Nor has it ever hinted at the slightest interest in treating the North Korean people better. Arguing that human rights should be an international priority doesn’t change matters.

Trying to convince the isolated …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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