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Abstract: As the number of defectors from North Korea arriving in
the South has surged in the past decade, there is a growing
understanding of how difficult it would be to absorb a
massive flow of refugees. South Korea is prosperous and
generous, with a committed government and civil society,
and yet refugees from the North almost all fail to integrate
or thrive. Part of this is the change in the people coming;
it is no longer just senior officials and fighter pilots who
were useful and privileged propaganda tools. Nowadays
many are women who have endured terrible deprivation
in the North and abuse on their way to the South. Reconfiguring
programs for defectors to take account of this
change is essential if new defectors are to find a place in
their new home.
The heart of the issue is humanitarian: those who arrive in
the South are often fleeing material deprivation and political
persecution and under South Korean law must be accepted
and helped. But as with all humanitarian issues, it
is complicated by politics. Defectors have been used by
both sides. The South once rewarded them with wealth
and public regard but that changed when rapprochement
with the North began in the late 1990s. Defectors became
something of an embarrassment, and policies to help them
did not keep up with the numbers and types of people
As the difficulties of absorbing North Koreans become
clear, the South is also wrestling with the possibility that
it one day might have to handle a vast outflow of refugees
from a collapsing North. The two sides of the Demilitarised
Zone have diverged so much in economics, politics,
language and social organisation that the people are now
strangers to each other. South Korean law and opinion
from some quarters would likely demand a rapid unification,
but economic and social realities suggest such a move
could be catastrophic. The difficulties of handling just over
20,000 refugees over a few decades should be a warning
to those who wish to encourage the collapse of the North
rather than a more gentle integration.
Abstract: This monograph provides a timely analysis and thoughtful insights into the challenges faced by the United States in developing a strategy for North Korea. The author examines the complex history of U.S. policy toward North Korea over the last decade that has left the United States in a position of having virtually no influence over the country. He addresses the complicated regional concerns and interests of North Korea’s neighbors and how these concerns impact on each of their approaches to North Korea. Most importantly, he looks at how the North Korean culture and history have influenced the attitudes of North Korean society and their relationship with other countries. He concludes by pointing out that despite the numerous challenges, the United States must develop a strategy focused on engaging Pyongyang if we expect to have any influence over the future direction of events in North Korea.
Abstract: Amnesty International has published satellite imagery and new testimony that shed light on the horrific conditions in North Korea’s network of political prison camps, which hold an estimated 200,000 people.
The images reveal the location, size and conditions inside the camps. Amnesty International spoke to a number of people, including former inmates from the political prison camp at Yodok as well as guards in other political prison camps, to obtain information about life in the camps.
According to former detainees at the political prison camp at Yodok, prisoners are forced to work in conditions approaching slavery and are frequently subjected to torture and other cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment. All the detainees at Yodok have witnessed public executions.
Abstract: The following remarks are from a lecture given by Dr. Kongdan Oh at the 1st RINSA-Konrad Adenauer Foundation Internatio-nal Conference “European and Asian Perspectives on International Security Policies”, organised by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in cooperation with the Research Institute for National Security Affairs (RINSA), Korea National Defense University (KNDU) , February 15, 2011 in Seoul, South Korea:
The two Koreas have suffered through a long history of military confrontation, and there is little reason to expect that relations will improve in the near future. Over the last few years both Koreas have strengthened their armed forces, and thanks to the 2010 North Korean attacks in the West Sea, this military buildup is likely to continue in the years ahead.
The motivation for North Korea to engage in active confrontation continues, and may even be increased, and the resources that could be employed in those confrontations are becoming more deadly.
The incompatibility of the political, economic, and social systems of the two Koreas is a continuing source of ill will. Military confrontation is an extension of political confrontation. Until the political system of North Korea changes, South Korea’s best hope for peace is to limit the North’s employment of its military forces in active engagements.
Abstract: Further provocations by North Korea as well as other dangerous military interactions on or around the Korean peninsula remain a serious risk and carry the danger of unintended escalation. Moreover, changes underway in North Korea could precipitate new tensions and herald a prolonged period of instability that raises the possibility of military intervention by outside powers. This Center for Preventive Action Contingency Planning Memorandum by Paul Stares analyzes potentially dangerous crises that could erupt in Korea due to the atmosphere of recrimination and mistrust that exists between North and South; the possibility of provocative, domestically driven North Korean behavior; and the potential for a troubled succession process in Pyongyang. Stares concludes that the United States has a strong and abiding interest in ensuring that another Korean war not be ignited and provides recommendations to reduce the risk of unwanted military escalation on the Korean peninsula.
Abstract: The deadly provocations by North Korea in the Yellow Sea in 2010 – the Ch’ŏnan sinking and the Yŏnp’yŏng Island shelling – drew condemnation and limited military responses by South Korea, the U.S. and Japan, but Beijing has been reluctant to go beyond counselling restraint to all parties. While declining to call Pyongyang to account, it criticised Washington for stepped-up military exercises with allies in North East Asia.
China’s influence in Pyongyang makes it crucial for international efforts to address North Korean provocations, and how it deals with clashes in the Yellow Sea is an important test of its willingness, capacity and credibility in handling regional conflict risks more generally. However, Beijing is undermining both its own and regional security by downplaying Pyongyang’s deadly behaviour in the Yellow Sea. Diplomatic shielding of the North, particularly at the UN, has damaged its international image and weakened its standing as an honest broker in the Six-Party Talks, while encouraging risky conventional and nuclear initiatives by North Korea. China’s behaviour has caused South Korea and Japan to strengthen bilateral coordination and their military alliances with the U.S. and consider expansion of their own missile defence systems, intensifying the risk of a regional arms race. China’s policy of supporting Pyongyang instead of holding it to account – ostensibly for the sake of stability – is heightening the risk of conflict on the Korean Peninsula.
Abstract: Around the 1990s the international community eventually directed its attention to the atrocities
in North Korea (NK: hereinafter) when the realities of these atrocities began to surface, piece by
piece, from the live testimony of slave labor workers in Siberia, a former guard and survivors in
the concentration camps, and numerous defectors hiding mostly across the Chinese and Russian
Human rights (HR: hereinafter) engagement against the NK regime so far has been no different
from those that have been directed at other oppressive regimes. Both multilateral interventions at
the United Nations and bilateral talks, direct or indirect, among concerned states, have been the
main features of HR protection relating to the North Korean regime. Unilateral moves by diverse
nations have also been at play, which presented enactments of North Korean human rights
legislation, acceptance of North Korean refugees, and various mobilization of shame against NK,
and its oppressors.
Abstract: Five actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and two improved in December 2010, according to the latest issue of the International Crisis Group’s monthly bulletin CrisisWatch released today.
Côte d’Ivoire was gripped by political crisis as incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo refused to cede power after losing to rival Alassane Outtara in the late-November presidential runoff polls. Post-election violence claimed thTensions remained high on the Korean peninsula just one month after North Korea shelled Yŏnp’yŏng Island in South Korea. Pyongyang threatened “brutal consequences beyond imagination” against the South as Seoul held live-fire artillery drills on the island. Russia and China called for a calming of tensions on the peninsula, but South Korea refused to cancel the drills amid domestic pressure to stand firm against the North.
Nigeria was hit by several deadly bomb attacks and ongoing Islamist militant violence over the month. At least 80 people were killed in coordinated explosions in the central city of Jos on 24 December. e lives of at least 170 people and more than 15,000 fled to neighbouring countries.
In Pakistan, the Taliban launched a wave of suicide attacks during the month that left scores dead. Many of those killed were locals supporting efforts against the militants. The situation in Guinea improved as former Prime Minister Cellou Diallo conceded defeat in the November presidential runoff and Alpha Condé was sworn in as the country’s first democratically elected president. Following a tense election period and concerted international efforts to avert renewed conflict, world leaders commended Guinea for a “historic achievement”.
Iraq ’s parliament unanimously approved a new 42-member government under incumbent Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on 21 December. The move ends nine months of political deadlock and protracted negotiations over government formation following parliamentary elections in March.
CrisisWatch also notes a marked deterioration in Mexico’s drug-related violence over the course of the past year, despite the killing of several high-profile cartel leaders
Abstract: Nine actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and one improved in November 2010, according to the latest issue of the International Crisis Group’s monthly bulletin CrisisWatch released today.
Tensions surged on the Korean peninsula as two South Korean civilians and two marines were killed when North Korea fired dozens of artillery shells at Yeonpyeong Island, where South Korea was conducting military drills. Haiti ’s late month presidential elections ended in confusion, as several opposition candidates called for the vote to be annulled amid reports of fraud, and thousands of people took to the streets in protest. International observers from the OAS called the vote valid despite “serious irregularities”, but tensions remain high. Ivory Coast saw deadly pre-election clashes on the streets of the capital Abidjan between rival supporters of the two presidential candidates, incumbent Laurent Gbagbo and former Prime Minister Alassane Ouattara. The tightly contested 28 November run-off and delays in announcing the preliminary results has led to heightened tensions between the two camps and fears of further violence.
In Guinea, preliminary results declaring opposition leader Alpha Condé winner of the 7 November second round presidential election sparked three days of violence resulting in at least four deaths and dozens injured. CrisisWatch also noted deteriorated situations in Burundi, Central African Republic, Madagascar, Egypt and Western Sahara.
In Niger, the situation improved as results from the 31 October referendum showed 90 per cent of voters in favour of the new constitution, paving the way for January 2011 elections and a return to civilian rule.
Once again this month CrisisWatch describes violence against civilians in North and South Kivu provinces in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Abstract: More than half a century has elapsed since the division of the Korean nation
that had lived on one and the same territory as a homogeneous nation
throughout its time-honored history of several thousands of years. From the
early days of national division, the government of the Democratic People’s
Republic of Korea (DPRK) has given priority to efforts aimed at achieving
national reunification, advanced most reasonable and realistic policies and
proposals for national reunification at every stage of its development, and
has made every possible effort to bring them into effect. It is true that inter-Korean relations move in a repeated cycle of reconciliation,
improvement, confrontation and exacerbation. However, it is only
a matter of time before north and south Korea will move towards the goal
of reunification. The era moving towards reunification that has lasted for the past ten
years since the announcement of the historic June 15 North-South Joint Declaration
in 2000 has been an era of exaltation that has instilled renewed hope
of reunification into the hearts of the entire Korean nation.No one can deny that the question of Korean reunification is an internal
matter and should be addressed by the Korean nation itself. However, as
we look back upon the essence of Korean issues, the historical background
of Korea’s division and the underlying elements of its reunification, we find
that the issue of reunification is also a major security issue for the region,
directly linked to the more comprehensive issue of peace on the Korean
Peninsula. Accordingly, the issue of Korean reunification deserves greater
attention so that peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula can be secured;
the focal point in ensuring global peace and security at the present time.
Abstract: Whether North Korea should be included on the U.S. list of terrorism-supporting countries has
been a major issue in U.S.-North Korean diplomacy since 2000, particularly in connection with
negotiations over North Korea’s nuclear program. North Korea demanded that the Clinton and
Bush Administrations remove it from the terrorism support list. On October 11, 2008, the Bush
Administration removed North Korea from the terrorism list.
This move was one of the measures the Bush Administration took to implement a nuclear
agreement that it negotiated with North Korea in September 2007 and finalized details of in April
2008. The agreement was reached under the format of the six party talks, which involve the
United States, North Korea, South Korea, China, Japan, and Russia. The President also
announced that he was immediately lifting sanctions on North Korea under the U.S. Trading with
the Enemy Act. North Korea’s obligations under this nuclear agreement were to allow the
disabling of its plutonium facility at Yongbyon and present to the United States and other
government in the six party talks a declaration of its nuclear programs. North Korea submitted its
declaration in June 2008.
The removal of North Korea from the terrorism list, however, did not result in an early conclusion
of the February 2007 six party nuclear agreement. The North Korean government and the Bush
Administration disagreed over the content of an October 2008 agreement on verification,
particularly over whether it allowed inspectors to take samples of nuclear materials from the
Yongbyon installations. The other parties to the talks also had not completed the delivery of 1
million tons of heavy oil that they had promised in the February 2007 agreement. Against this
backdrop, along with an apparent stroke suffered by North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, the six
party process broke down.
Abstract: The Security Council today voted unanimously to extend for another year the mandate of the expert body dealing with United Nations sanctions on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
The Council also urged all States, relevant UN bodies and other interested parties to furnish the relevant committee with “any information at their disposal on the implementation of the measures imposed by resolution 1718 (2006) and resolution 1874 (2009).”
Resolution 1718, adopted by the Council following Pyongyang’s claims to have conducted a nuclear test in October 2006, imposed sanctions against the country as well as individuals supporting its military programme. It also demanded that DPRK cease its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction.
The Council adopted resolution 1874 in June of last year, imposing a series of measures on the DPRK that include tougher inspections of cargo suspected of containing banned items related to the country’s nuclear and ballistic missile activities, a tighter arms embargo with the exception of light weapons and new financial restrictions.
The 15-member body took this action in the wake of the 25 May 2009 nuclear test conducted in “violation and flagrant disregard” of relevant Council resolutions. The Council condemned that test and demanded that the DPRK “not conduct any further nuclear test or any launch using ballistic missile technology.”
Abstract: Four actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and none improved in May 2010. Israeli commandos killed at least nine people when they raided a flotilla of ships carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza on 31 May. Full details are not yet clear but the incident has already thrown into question recently launched proximity talks between the Palestinians and Israel. May also saw renewed violence in the streets of Bangkok. Clashes between anti-government Red Shirt protesters and security forces that resulted in scores of deaths in April escalated this month, leaving at least 54 people dead. Soldiers removed the Red Shirts from the capital on 19 May and the government has since lifted a curfew imposed on Bangkok and 28 other provinces. Tensions continued to mount on the Korean Peninsula after investigators announced that a South Korean ship that sunk in March had been hit by a North Korean torpedo. Pyongyang continues to deny responsibility for the sinking which killed 46 people. Security also deteriorated in India, where suspected Maoist rebels derailed a train on 28 May leaving at least 147 civilians dead. The Maoists have denied responsibility, but the incident has once again underlined the government's failure to curb escalating insurgent violence that has become increasingly deadly in recent months.
Abstract: The Joint Civilian-Military Investigation Group(JIG) conducted its investigation
with 25 experts from 10 top Korean expert agencies, 22 military experts, 3
experts recommended by the National Assembly, and 24 foreign experts
constituting 4 support teams from the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom
and the Kingdom of Sweden. The JIG is composed of four teams--Scientific
Investigation Team, Explosive Analysis Team, Ship Structure Management Team,
and Intelligence Analysis Team. In our statement today, we will provide the results attained by Korean and
foreign experts through an investigation and validation process undertaken with a
scientific and objective approach. The report states, "Based on all such relevant facts and classified analysis, we have reached the clear conclusion that ROKS "Cheonan" was sunk as the result of an external underwater explosion caused by a torpedo made in North Korea. The evidence points overwhelmingly to the conclusion that the torpedo was fired by a North Korean submarine. There is no other plausible explanation."
Abstract: Five actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and none improved in April 2010. Soldiers and protesters clashed in Bangkok in the worst violence to hit the Thai capital in almost two decades. Turmoil also shook Kyrgyzstan where President Kurmanbek Bakiyev was ousted in a violent rebellion. Unrest grew amid weeks of protests against painful utility price increases and popular discontent with the corruption that characterised Bakiyev’s rule. April also saw heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula after the sinking of a South Korean ship in late March. 46 people were killed when the ship was hit by what investigators now say was most likely an external explosion. North Korea has denied involvement and South Korea has so far avoided directly blaming its neighbour. The security situation also deteriorated in India, where Maoist insurgents killed 76 paramilitary troops in their most deadly attack in decades, and in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where rebel activity and clashes with government soldiers destablised several provinces across the country’s east and north west. CrisisWatch identifies a Conflict Risk Alert for Sudan after flawed elections which returned President Omar al-Bashir to power. With opposition parties contesting the results, and signs of increased violence in both the South and Darfur, there is now a heightened risk that the situation could worsen ahead of next year’s planned referendum on the South’s independence.
CrisisWatch also warns that mounting political tensions in Nepal could lead to new confrontation between the Maoists and the government.
Abstract: Air transportation has played a key role in fuelling the war economies and conflicts that
have affected parts of Asia and the Middle East in recent decades. They are also important
facilitators of narcotics flows such as opiates and untaxed tobacco destined for European,
Asian and Middle Eastern markets. At the same time, those air cargo carriers transporting
these commodity flows that have been so destabilizing are also involved in humanitarian
aid and peacekeeping missions.
Abstract: This is the 12th FCO Annual Report on Human
Rights. The report sets out the UK’s work and
policy on human rights in 2009, and explains the
importance of human rights across our foreign
policy goals. It highlights our main policies,
countries of concern and the challenges we
face. It demonstrates how we seek to address
these issues through diplomatic channels and
international bodies, as well as our programme
work across the globe. However, many of the issues covered in these pages
highlight the growing tendency to once again claim
human rights as a “Western” construct, unsuited to
particular cultures and countries. In the Democratic
People’s Republic of Korea, the government continues
to insist that national security and cultural differences
invalidate human rights obligations and justify
subjecting humanitarian workers to severe restrictions.
In Burma, Aung San Suu Kyi is incarcerated on
the basis of similar arguments that her battle for
Foreword by the Foreign Secretary
democracy undermines national security. Women are
still denied their human rights in many parts of the
world, on the basis that culture and religion render
those rights inapplicable. The increasing threat to
gay people’s rights in some African countries reminds
us that tolerance is a dream rather than a reality for
much of the world’s population.
But this report also shows how people around the
world are pushing back against the idea that human
rights are not universal – in 2009 demonstrators
in Guinea and Honduras demanded their rights to
democracy, human rights defenders from Belarus
to Syria continued to protest against injustice and
worldwide, individuals and groups continue to work
to realise the rights of all. We have a responsibility
to applaud these efforts, and to support them by
challenging the notion that human rights depend on
culture and circumstance.
Abstract: At least 71 journalists were killed across the globe in 2009, the Committee to Protect Journalists announced Tuesday, the largest annual toll in the 30 years the group has been keeping track.
Twenty-nine of those deaths came in a single, politically motivated massacre of reporters and others in the Philippines last November, the worst known episode for journalists, the committee said.
But there were other worrisome trends. The two nations with the highest number of journalists incarcerated — China had 24 journalists imprisoned at the end of 2009 and Iran had 23 — were particularly harsh in taking aim at bloggers and others using the Internet. The number jailed in Iran has since jumped to 47, the committee said. Of the 71 confirmed deaths, 51 were murders, the committee said. The report noted that 24 additional deaths of journalists remained under investigation to determine if they were related to the journalists’ work. Previously, the highest number of journalists killed in a single year was 67, in 2007, when violence in Iraq was raging.
Abstract: The Humanitarian Action Report is UNICEF's only publication dealing specifically with the needs of children and women in emergencies. It spotlights crises that require exceptional support, and additional funding, to save lives and protect children from harm in an increasingly challenging humanitarian environment.
This year's report – subtitled 'Partnering for children in emergencies' – says the world is seeing crises exacerbated by larger trends, such as climate change and the international financial downturn, that are beyond the capacity of any one agency to address.
The report appeals for nearly $1.2 billion in international donor funding for emergency-response efforts in 28 countries covering six regions – from Eastern Europe to Africa to Asia to Latin America. The funding will be used to support a greater emphasis on emergency preparedness, early warning, disaster risk reduction and rapid recovery.
Abstract: In July 2009, the UN General Assembly held an Interactive Informal Dialogue and plenary session on the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP). The dialogue provided the first opportunity for the UN membership as a whole to discuss implementation of the 2005 World Summit’s commitment to the RtoP and the UN Secretary-General’s report on the matter. Fifteen governments from the Asia-Pacific region, namely Indonesia, the Philippines, Korea, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Japan, China, Vietnam, Solomon Islands, Myanmar, Timor-Leste, DPRK, PNG and Malaysia, participated in the dialogue. This culminated in a resolution co-sponsored by, inter alia, Australia, Fiji, Singapore, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Korea, Timor-Leste and New Zealand that noted the Secretary-General’s report, observed the fruitfulness of the interactive dialogue, and committed the Assembly to further consideration of the RtoP.
According to the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, one of the most significant aspects of the dialogue was the positive transformation of attitudes towards the RtoP within the Asia-Pacific region. Having previously been considered the region most opposed to the RtoP, the region now boasts near unanimity in its endorsement of the principle and the Secretary-General’s efforts towards its implementation (with the exception of North Korea).
Abstract: The term “peace regime” officially made its Six-Party Talks debut in the September 2005 Joint Statement from the fourth round of those negotiations, as the participating nations emphasized their commitment to build a lasting peace in Northeast Asia by pledging to initiate a separate negotiation for a “permanent peace regime on the Korean Peninsula” at an appropriate time.1 Although the Six-Party Talks are primarily focused on denuclearizing North Korea
(Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or DPRK), the mention of a separate peace regime dialogue by “the directly
related parties” acknowledged the many unresolved political, diplomatic, and national security issues in Korea that contribute to North Korea’s nuclear ambitions. After all, North and South Korea (Republic of Korea, or ROK) are still technically at war with one another, and the armistice agreement that has governed the cease-fire for over fifty-five years was never intended as a long-term solution to the Korean War. The Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis (IFPA), working
with partners in South Korea, the United States, and China is in the middle of a three-year project exploring peace regime building on the Korean Peninsula in ways that support and facilitate the denuclearization objectives
of the Six-Party Talks. Our aim is to combine research
and dialogue in a mixed academic/policy (Track 1.5) environment among the “directly related parties” to explore the linkages mentioned above, and to develop a broader consensus regarding the potential synergies between
armistice management, peace regime building, and denuclearization.
Abstract: The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the experience of North Korean refugees living in South Korea.
From the analysis of the participants’ comments, six essences were identified: entrance to a new world after struggling for
survival, unexpected shock and chaos, reconsidering the reasons for leaving North Korea, recovery from trauma, rebuilding
meaning, and post-traumatic growth.
Abstract: In October, both houses of Congress unanimously passed and President George W. Bush signed the North Korean Human Rights Act of 2004. This act promotes improving human rights in North Korea as an integral part of broader U.S. policy on the Korean peninsula, and it also calls for protecting North Korean defectors as refugees. Surprisingly, the most vocal criticism has come not from North Korea, but from South Korea. Some members of South Korea's ruling Uri Party were indignant, claiming that the new law would increase tensions on the Korean peninsula and damage relations between South Korea and North Korea. Such sentiments, regrettably prevalent in South Korea, indicate how much some people have misunderstood the act and its purpose. The act is intended to make it easier for the United States to assist North Korean refugees, and it links any future aid to Pyongyang to progress in addressing human rights concerns. The act contains no hidden agenda for overt regime change or overthrow of the Kim Jong Il government. Its sole focus is on alleviating the plight of North Koreans through limited action by the U.S. government.
Abstract: The issue of North Korea’s inclusion on the U.S. list of terrorism-supporting
countries has been a major issue in U.S.-North Korean diplomacy since 2000,
particularly in connection with negotiations over North Korea’s nuclear program.
North Korea has demanded that the Clinton and Bush Administration remove North
Korea from the terrorism support list.
On June 26, 2008, President Bush announced that he was officially notifying
Congress of his intent to remove North Korea from the list of state sponsors of
terrorism after the 45 calender-day notification period to Congress as required by
U.S. law. The White House stated an intention to remove North Korea on August
11, 2008. This announcement was part of the measures the Bush Administration
took on June 26 to implement a nuclear agreement that it negotiated with North
Korea in September 2007 and finalized details of in April 2008 at a U.S.-North
Korean meeting in Singapore. The President also announced that he was
immediately lifting sanctions on North Korea under the U.S. Trading with the Enemy
Act. North Korea’s obligations under this nuclear agreement are to allow the
disabling of its plutonium facility at Yongbyon and present to the United States and
other government in the six party talks a declaration of its nuclear programs. North
Korea submitted its declaration on June 26, 2008.
However, in July 2008, the Bush Administration proposed a system of intrusive
international inspections of North Korean nuclear facilities or suspected nuclear
facilities. North Korea rejected the proposal, suspended the disablement of
Yongbyon, and threatened to resume operations of its nuclear facilities. In October
2008, the Administration negotiated a more limited verification-inspection system
with North Korea. On October 11, 2008, the Administration removed North Korea
from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.
The Bush Administration increasingly took the position that the issue of North
Korea’s kidnapping of Japanese citizens was not linked to removing North Korea
from the terrorism list, from the standpoint of U.S. law or policy. The Japanese
government objected to the removal of North Korea. The State Department
continued to declare that North Korea had not committed a terrorist act since 1987.
However, reports from French, Japanese, South Korean and Israeli sources described
recent North Korean programs to provide arms and training to Hezbollah in Lebanon
and the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, two groups on the U.S. list of international
terrorist organizations. Moreover, a large body of reports describe a long-standing,
collaborative relationship between North Korea and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard
Abstract: The passage of the reauthorization of the North Korean Human Rights Act in
October 2008 (P.L.110-346) reasserted congressional interest in influencing the Bush
Administration’s policy toward North Korea. In addition to reauthorizing funding at
original levels, the bill expresses congressional criticism of the implementation of the
original 2004 law and adjusts some of the provisions relating to the Special Envoy on
Human Rights in North Korea and the U.S. resettlement of North Korean refugees.
Some outside analysts have pointed to the challenges of highlighting North Korea’s
human rights violations in the midst of the ongoing nuclear negotiations, as well as the
difficulty in effectively reaching North Korean refugees as outlined in the law. Further,
the law may complicate coordination on North Korea with China and South Korea. For
more information, please see CRS Report RL34189, North Korean Refugees in China
and Human Rights Issues: International Response and U.S. Policy Options, coordinated
by Rhoda Margesson. North Korea’s systematic violation of its citizens’ human rights and the plight of
North Koreans trying to escape their country have been well documented in multiple
reports issued by governments and other international bodies. The Bush Administration
initially highlighted and later de-emphasized Pyongyang’s human rights record as its
policy on nuclear weapons negotiations evolved. Congress has consistently drawn
attention to North Korean human rights violations on a bipartisan basis. On several
occasions, Congress has criticized the executive branch for its approach to these issues,
through tough questioning of Administration witnesses during multiple hearings and
through written letters of protest to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.