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Fighting for Freedom: U.S. and South Korea Seek Solutions for North Korean Human Rights Issues

Daniel Kim Views  

Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

South Korea and the United States held the 2nd Korea-U.S. Consultation on North Korean Human Rights Issues to explore ways to cooperate in promoting strategic human rights in North Korea.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced, “Chun Young Hee, Director of the Peace Diplomacy Planning Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, explored ways to cooperate on North Korean human rights issues with Julie Turner, U.S. State Department Special Envoy for North Korean Human Rights in Washington, DC, USA, on the 15th (local time).”

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, various related agencies participated in this meeting for broad discussions. The South Korean side was accompanied by the Ministry of Unification and the Ministry of Justice, and the U.S. side was attended by the National Security Council (NSC) and the Department of Defense.

Both sides agreed that North Korea’s obsession with nuclear and missile development has led to the violation of the fundamental rights of North Korean residents and worsened the human rights situation. Therefore, the international community has decided to continue efforts to clarify the responsibility for the oppression of human rights by the North Korean regime and to improve access to information for North Korean residents.

In particular, they again discussed ways to cooperate in resolving the issue of abductees, detainees, and prisoners of war agreed upon at the Korea-U.S. summit in April last year and the Korea-U.S.-Japan summit in August of the same year. They also decided to continue urging North Korea to comply with international human rights norms and faithfully implement the U.N. North Korean Human Rights Resolution and the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) recommendations.

Director Chun emphasized that “we need to raise our voices to demand the abolition of North Korea’s unfair and excessive control measures, such as the Anti-Reactionary Thought and Culture Rejection Law, to bridge the information gap between North Korea and the outside world.”

Moreover, he added, “Our government has designated July 14 as the Day of North Korean Defectors and is making efforts to support the settlement of defectors,” and “we are also enhancing protection and support for defectors abroad.”

Special Envoy Turner said, “The priorities of both countries for improving human rights in North Korea are largely similar,” and “Let’s continue to closely coordinate Korea-U.S. concrete measures for the substantial improvement of North Korean human rights.”

Meanwhile, after a six-year hiatus, the Korea-U.S. Consultation on North Korean Human Rights Issues was relaunched in November last year. Based on this meeting, both countries plan to push for the next meeting in the second half of this year.

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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