We support for US sanctions 7 North Korean officials for rights abuses

The U.S. Treasury Department has added seven senior North Korean officials, including leader Kim Jong Un’s sister, to its sanctions list because of human rights abuses and censorship by the communist nation on Jan.11.

The department said in a statement that its Office of Foreign Assets Control added six men and one woman, all officials of the government of North Korea or the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea, along with the Ministry of Labor and the State Planning Commission, to the Specially Designated Nationals List.

The U.S. State Department said in a separate statement that the action coincided with the release of its second report on North Korean human rights abuses and censorship, which it called among the worst in the world.

Especially, among seven individuals on the Treasury Department blacklist is Kim Yo Jong, 27, who it said is the younger sister of leader Kim Jong Un, as well as the vice director of the Workers’ Party of Korea Propaganda and Agitation Department.

First, We welcome U.S. blacklists North Korean officials over rights abuses. As everyone knows, North Korea has long been labeled one of the worst human rights violators in the world. Right now, 24 million people face the most repressive regime in the world.

Second, We urge North Korea regime to stop widespread and systematic human rights violation. North Korean are denied even the most basic rights of free speech, free movement, and information freedom. Also North Korean have been under repressive system of political control including collective punishment, public executions, and political prison camps.

Third, Now it is time for North Korea to choose. North Korea regime should realize that it will not be accepted as a part of the international society unless it stops to infringe upon human rights. Kim Jong-un should ruminate on why the world speaks with one voice against it.

We Strongly Condemn Kim Jong-Un Regime for Enslaving North Korea

The U.S. Republican Party recently announced its new platform calling “North Korea a slave state of the Kim family”. The platform also called for “change in North Korea” and urged “China to recognize the inevitability of change in North Korea”.

Regarding the North Korean nuclear issue, the platform said “the U.S. will demand the complete, verifiable, and irreversible dismantlement of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program with full accounting of its proliferation activities” and “an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) is no longer a theoretical concern – it is a real threat”.

The expression ‘North Korea is a slave state of the Kim family’ signifies that the U.S., a country particularly sensitive to the subject of human rights, is designating North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un as being ultimately responsible for the human rights issue of North Korea and has a strong will to address the issue.

In this regard, we would like to express our position on this matter as follows.

First, we actively support the U.S. Republican Party platform calling ‘North Korea a slave state of the Kim family’, and we strongly condemn the Kim Jong-Un regime for brainwashing and exploiting North Korean people and treating them like slaves to maintain the hereditary dictatorship of the Kim family.

Second, we strongly denounce North Korea for developing an EMP bomb, a threatening weapon that could destroy power grids and major infrastructures and jeopardize the lives of millions of people. We urge the United Nations and the international community to seek for specific and practical measures to deter such provocations of North Korea and bring those measures into action as early as possible.

Third, we solemnly warn that the Kim Jong-Un regime, which continues its nuclear development and reign of terror, will only continue to face international sanctions and a backlash from North Korean people and eventually collapse. Kim Jong-Un should realize that coexistence with the international community, not nuclear and missile development, is the only way for North Korea to survive. We firmly demand that Kim Jong-Un stop reckless provocations and seek ways to prosper with other countries.

Lastly, we call upon the members of the UN and the international community, especially China, to recognize that change is imperative in North Korea to fundamentally resolve North Korean issues, such as nuclear development and human rights violation, and put consistent and greater pressure and sanctions on North Korea.

We condemn North Korea’s propaganda on the mass defection of North Korean restaurant workers

The North Korean regime is devoting all its energy to paint the mass defection of North Korean restaurant workers who fled from China to South Korea in April as an act of mass enticement and abduction by the South Korean government.

The regime forced the defectors’ coworkers to interview with CNN late April to slander the South Korean government. About the incident, they said that a South Korean businessman and the North Korean manager at the restaurant acted in collusion under the direction of the South Korean government.

Furthermore, the North recently committed a cruel act of disclosing the letters from the defectors’ families through its propaganda media like Uriminzokkiri to compel the defectors to return by holding their families hostage.

What is more cruel and vicious is that the Kim Jong-un regime presses the defectors to confess whether their defection was based on their own free will, putting them in a serious dilemma. They cannot tell that they came to the South willingly for fear of endangering their families in the North.

Nor can they comment that they were abducted, because if they do, they will be returned to North Korea. Giving them no choice but to choose between their own survival and punishment of their families is incredibly inhumane.

Kim Jong-un has repeatedly demanded the defectors’ repatriation while making threats that the South would face “unimaginable serious consequences and severe punishment.” He even allegedly ordered a retaliatory terror attack against Koreans in border areas between China and North Korea.

We strongly denounce the North Korean regime’s actions in regard to the mass defection of North Korean restaurant workers.

First, we criticize the North Korean regime’s deception. Whenever its citizens flee to the South, the regime blames the South Korean government accusing it of luring and kidnapping them. It made its usual fraudulent claims again toward the recent mass defection of North Korean restaurant workers as an attempt to fool its people and the international community alike.

Second, we strongly condemn the Kim Jong-un regime for its barbaric act of holding the defectors’ families and colleagues hostage to threathen the defectors who made a brave decision to live as free human beings.

Third, we demand that the North guarantee its people their basic human rights rather than devoting itself to making false propaganda and threats to prevent further defection and unrest among its people.

Fourth, we call on the North Korean government to drop the hypocrisy of denouncing defection as enticement and abduction by the South while kidnapping innocent foreigners itself. We call for the regime to apologize for the foreigners it has kidnapped and to take measures to address the problems that are driving its citizens to defect.

A Denunciation of North Korea’s Missile Provocation Threatening Northeast Asia’s Stability and World Peace

North Korea fired intermediate range ballistic missiles (IRBM) on April 15 and 28 and more recently on May 31, following its long range missile launch in February and its fourth nuclear test in January this year, undermining the stability of Northeast Asia and threatening the world peace.

Although failed, North Korea’s missile launch must have contributed to its nuclear weapons system development and the increasing global tensions.

Missile launch attempts of the reclusive country are not only in violation of international law but constitute a serious threat to Northeast Asian countries and a direct aggression against the peace and stability of the world, which therefore should not be tolerated.

We hereby define North Korea’s missile launch as a clear provocation against Northeast Asia and the world and state our position as follows.

First, we strongly condemn the Kim Jong Un regime that is preoccupied with nuclear and missile development to keep its authoritarian power while paying little attention to the fundamental rights and livelihoods of the people.

Second, we strongly urge North Korea to immediately stop engaging in any activities that are in explicit violation of UN Security Council resolutions, which include nuclear test and missile launch, and to become at least a minimally responsible member of the international community by complying with UN resolutions concerning North Korea.

Third, we strongly call upon the North Korean regime to cease all of its provocative actions that undermine the peace of the Korean peninsula and further the world, as well as to halt human rights violations against North Korean people and guarantee fundamental rights for them.

Fourth, we urge the international community, including the UN Security Council, to seek more aggressive and practical measures to put pressure on North Korea to deter its missile launch and other acts of provocation, and to increase the effectiveness through continuous monitoring and communication.

Until the above conditions are all realized, we will continue to make every effort, by using all available means, to see the Kim Jong Un regime punished for its provocation and the North Korean people set free from the living death.

Support for United Nations’ New Sanctions against North Korea

The UN Security Council resolution 2270 adopted on March 2 is a legitimate response of the international community to North Korea’s provocation against the world through its nuclear tests and missile launches. The resolution was unanimously adopted by the 15 member states of the Council, including China and Russia. It contains fresh sanctions on North Korea and is considered the strongest and most effective nonmilitary sanctions regime of the Council ever in 20 years. The sanctions require the member states to inspect all cargo to and from North Korea, prevent any transfer of weapons to or from North Korea, regulate individuals and entities involved in the development of nuclear weapons and missiles, prohibit the sale or transfer of minerals, prohibit the opening and operation of branches of North Korean banks, and prohibit the sale of luxury goods, among others. The resolution will help prevent North Korea, by all possible means, from obtaining financial resources that it needs for its nuclear and missile development. It is the result of global cooperation to secure peace through non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. We support the global effort for world peace and stability.

What is important is strict compliance by all states with the resolution. The 193 member states of the UN should be determined to comply with the sanctions of the resolution unanimously adopted by the Security Council. Although there is concern that China and Russia might not actively participate in the global effort, we believe that, as members of the international community, they fully recognize the significance of the sanctions and will make efforts accordingly. The member states should cooperate with one another to ensure strict compliance with the resolution. It is required to push North Korea to abandon its nuclear program and move towards reform and opening up by imposing international sanctions, which was effective in the case of Iran.

Now it is time for North Korea to choose. North Korea should realize that it will not be accepted as a part of the international society unless it continues to spend astronomical amounts of money on developing weapons of mass destruction posing a threat to the world and also commits human rights abuses against its people. North Korea should ruminate on why the world speaks with one voice against it.

We Strongly Condemn North Korea’s Nuclear Test that Threatens World Peace

North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test on January 6, 2016, despite repeated warnings from the international society.

North Korean state television announced on the same day that the country successfully staged its first test of a hydrogen bomb under the leadership of Kim Jong-un.

North Korea pushed ahead with yet another nuclear test in three years after its third nuclear test in February 2013 following the second test in May 2009 and the first test in October 2006.

North Korea claimed to have successfully tested a hydrogen bomb unlike in its previous nuclear tests that involved plutonium. If verified, it would cause a new phase of concern to the world.

The international community is expected to impose stronger sanctions against the hostile regime that, unlike in its previous nuclear tests, carried out the latest hydrogen bomb test without giving any prior warning or hint.

We feel dismay and anger over North Korea’s nuclear provocation that threatens peace of the Korean peninsula and the world, and we hereby state our position as follows.

First, North Korea’s nuclear tests that it has conducted under the pretext of ‘autonomy’ amount to a catastrophe that would destroy the peace and future of the Korean peninsula and the world and are a grave provocation that threatens the peace in the Northeast Asian region, which therefore should never be accepted or ignored. We strongly urge North Korea to give up its reckless pursuit of becoming a nuclear state.

Second, we firmly condemn Kim Jong-un’s regime that struggles to keep its grip on power through nuclear capabilities despite its people starving to death, posing a threat to the Korean peninsula and the world, and we strongly ask members of the international community, including the UN Security Council, to take more rigorous measures against North Korea’s latest nuclear test.

Third, North Korea should be aware that it is not and will never be accepted as a nuclear state, and we strongly urge North Korea to internally look after its own people and externally try to play a role as a responsible member of the international community.

Fourth, the world should be on alert to the fact that North Korea has already conducted two nuclear tests since Kim took power in December 2011, and we demand the international community to seriously examine existing North Korean policies and sanctions and further consider a regime change in the communist state.

Strong Support for UN General Assemblys’s Resolution on Referring North Korea to ICC

On last December 17, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution seeking accountability for human rights abuses in North Korea and calling on the UN Security Council to refer those responsible to the International Criminal Court (ICC). The resolution passed overwhelmingly by a vote of 119 to 19, with 48 abstentions.

It is the eleventh year in a row that the General Assembly has passed a resolution on the human rights issue of North Korea and the second consecutive year that the resolution involving the recommended referral to the ICC has been adopted. The recent resolution urges North Korea to join the International Labour Organization and ratify all labor treaties.

While the 2005 resolution on North Korea’s human rights issue was three pages long, the recent resolution contained nine pages. And, while the 2005 resolution was approved by just about 80 countries, the 2012 and 2013 resolutions were accepted without a vote and the 2014 and 2015 resolutions were endorsed by over 110 countries.

The recent resolution notes that human rights abuses in North Korea amount to systematic crimes against humanity by the state and recommends the Security Council to impose targeted sanctions against responsible state officials. The adoption of the resolution reflects growing global concerns about the human rights situation in North Korea and the global effort seeking to bring accountability to the perpetrators. The resolution calls for investigation of human rights violations in North Korea and bringing to justice “North Korea’s leadership” implying Kim Jong-un, suggesting that the international pressure on the Kim regime will increase.

In other words, the resolution demonstrates stronger international condemnation of North Korea’s human rights abuses in its scale and intensity and a greater international voice for human rights improvement in the country.

As such, we fully support the recent adoption of the resolution that will force the North Korean regime to redress its human rights situation, and we strongly urge the regime to cooperate with UN human rights mechanisms. We particularly call for urgent action and decisions, such as closure of prison camps in North Korea, prosecution of perpetrators of human rights violations, protection of North Korean refugees, and North Korea’s joining of the ILO.

Providing Full Support for the Adoption of the UN Resolution on the North Korean Human Rights Issue that Calls for Referring North Korea to the ICC

On last November 19, the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly passed a resolution on North Korea’s human rights situation that calls for referring the issue to the International Criminal Court (ICC). The resolution, which was passed by a decisive majority, is the 11th UN resolution on North Korea’s human rights situation since 2005. The passing in the UN General Assembly participated by the entire member countries means the practical adoption of the resolution. The recent resolution not only calls for referring North Korea to the ICC but also recommends, in a strong term, sanctions against leaders responsible for crimes against humanity, targeting North Korean leader Kim Jung-un.

Despite the continuing international efforts to improve the human rights in North Korea, the situation has not been much improved, and the communist state remains the worst human rights violator in the world. In North Korea, widespread human rights violations by the regime continue to occur, such as public executions, forced repatriation of North Korean defectors, restrictions on movement and travelling, and control of thought, conscience, religion and belief. Besides, more than 50,000 North Korean workers have been sent to over 40 countries, including China and Russia as well as Algeria, Ethiopia, Kuwait, Libya, Oman, Poland and Qatar, where they work hard only to see their wages confiscated by the North Korean regime.

The dispatched North Korean workers toil at least 12 hours per day, and almost 90% of the wages they earn are sent back to the regime. They work average 12-16 hours per day and sometimes they are permitted to sleep only four hours a night. The North Korean regime treats the dispatched workers like prisoners or slaves by, for example, prohibiting them from travelling and forcing them to live together in fear that they might have a change in consciousness or flee the country.

The recent resolution calls on the North Korean regime to join the International Labour Organization, which seems to be associated with the human rights situation of the dispatched North Korean workers.

As such, we fully support the adoption of the UN resolution that will help improve the human rights situation in North Korea, and we urge for the North Korean regime to stop its human rights abuses against North Korean people and exploitation of the dispatched workers and to act as a normal member of the international society. We also ask the international community, including Europe, to put pressure on the regime to enable the UN’s investigation of the human rights situation in the country and also to remove all kinds of regulations that contribute to the connivance in human rights violations committed in North Korea.

We are strongly urging the North Korean regime to abandon its obsession with the development of weapons of mass destruction.

North Korea recently celebrated the 70th anniversary of its ruling Workers’ Party. As part of anniversary celebrations, a massive military parade took place in Kim il-Sung Square in Pyeongyang, and 30,000 North Korean soldiers and a million spectators participated in the event.

North Korean soldiers marched through the square with various weapons including ballistic missiles, of which one appeared to be KN-08, an intercontinental ballistic missile, and new 300mm multiple rocket launchers, showing off the country’s military power to the world.

It is presumed that about 1.4 billion dollars (approx. 1.62 trillion won) were spent on the military parade, which includes costs for construction projects, preparation of the parade weapons, mobilization of residents, preparation of materials for the event, and invitation of foreign journalists. That is almost one third of the state’s annual budget.

A South Korean researcher said “It is about one third of the annual budget of North Korea, and it would be even more than estimated when considering the development cost of advanced weapons associated with the celebrations.” The 1.4 billion dollars thrown into the event could have been used to buy some 9.5 million tons of corn that could have fed the entire North Korean population for 29 months.

The state-run Korean Central Television announced that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will give all North Koreans a special incentive that is equivalent to the monthly cost of living in celebration of the founding of the ruling party. The North Korean regime, however, ordered North Korean diplomats and agents overseas to raise funds for the event and even collected money that is twice the monthly wage of general workers from each North Korean household. Does it make any sense that a country sticks to the development of weapons of mass destruction and exploits its people on the other hand.

Meanwhile, to compare current situations of South Korea and North Korea after 70 years have passed since the founding of the North Korean regime, the national gap has grown substantially. The gap in gross national income (GNI) is 44 times and the disparity in the amount of trade is as much as 144 times. The regime delivers North Korean people the message that North Korea is a ‘socialist paradise on earth’, but in fact, it cannot even address food problems suffered by the people. What is the point of developing nuclear weapons and missiles when the residents are starving.

The international society is criticizing widespread human rights violations in North Korea and urging the regime to improve the situation and also scrap its ‘delusion of a nuclear power’ and reform and open up. Kim Jong-un should know that if his regime insists on enhancing its ‘nuclear and military power’ while ignoring advice from the international society, the future of North Korea would be dark. Hence, we are strongly urging the North Korean regime to abandon its obsession with the development of weapons of mass destruction and pay attention to the improvement of the lives of the people in North Korea.

We condemn North Korea’s landmine and shelling provocations and support resolute North Korean policies of the Park Geun-hye administration.

South and North Korea have reached a dramatic agreement on measures to defuse a possibility of military conflict which was triggered in the wake of the North’s landmine attack against the South. After four days of marathon negotiations, North Korea agreed to express regret for the recent mine explosion that injured two South Korean soldiers and lift the semi-war state, and South Korea agreed to stop propaganda broadcasts along the border unless an abnormal case occurs. It is an unprecedented event that the two Koreas reached an agreement after direct negotiations over provocations from the North.

When the axe murder incident occurred at the inter-Korean truce village of Panmunjeom in August 1976, the then South Korean president Park Chung-hee sternly warned of retaliation against the North Korean army and made a somewhat drastic statement as a head of state that “A club is the best medicine to treat a crazy dog,” which eventually led to an apology from Kim Il-sung of the North. When the Gangneung submarine infiltration incident occurred in September 1996, the then South’s present Kim Young-sam took a very hard-line approach, even if it meant a conflict with the United States, and the harsh stance led to an apology statement made in December of the same year by the North’s Foreign Ministry.

However, after North Korea sunk the South Korean frigate Cheonnan in 2010, the South’s government said “We are not afraid of war but nor do we want one,” an expression that made Pyeongyang underestimate Seoul. If the South had made a strong warning like “We are ready to risk war if any further provocation is launched,” the North would not have fired shells at Yeonpyeong-do Island of South Korea in November 2010.

Immediately after the North’s recent shelling attack occurred, President Park Geun-hye held a meeting of the National Security Council and visited the field headquarters where she ordered “ruthless retaliation” in the event of any further provocation from the North, showing undeterred determination as a commander-in-chief. She also supported the bold posture of the South Korean army that “any further provocation will face a hard punishment.” Such a resolute and consistent stance of the South Korean government has eventually suppressed further provocations from the North.

Although the recent inter-Korean agreement has mitigated tension on the Korean peninsula, the South’s government should be cautious about an additional provocation by the North. North Korea’s brinkmanship is now familiar. It arbitrarily stops dialogue with the South, poses threats and escalates a security crisis, a provocative action that has been repeated so many times. The recent case has clearly shown that strict responses to the North’s provocations, including a strong warning of retribution and punishment, are effective in eliciting apologies from the North. Stern and consistent North Korean policies are the key to stopping repeated provocations from the North.

We have been convinced again that stern and resolute North Korean policies are crucial to protecting the peace on the Korean peninsula and the security of South Korea from the North that has engaged in provocations against South Korea. We strongly support the steadfast and unyielding North Korean policies of the Park Geun-hye administration, as was demonstrated in the recent event.