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The shabby spectacle of human rights

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Human rights have been kept in the shadows while presidents Moon and Trump allow Kim to remain in the spotlight. AFP-Yonhap
By Amanda Price

It is time to be blunt.

Either North Korea is the world's most repressed regime and North Koreans the world's most endangered people, or hundreds of NGOs and international aid organizations have simply made it up.

There is no way to sidestep making this choice.

If Kim Jong-un is telling the truth to presidents Moon and Trump, and his highest priority is the welfare of his people, and goodwill to all men on the earth, then let's settle on that once and for all.

But if Kim is oppressing and torturing citizens, and his highest priority is maintaining power within a murderous regime, then let's have done with the political pretence and approach this dilemma as a human rights crisis.

One way or another, a choice must be made.

Trump told Congress that North Korea's violations of human rights would be his first priority in negotiations with Kim. American aid organizations have accused the American President of preferring photo ops to fulfilling pledges. Korea Times file
Sadly, most of those in power are reluctant to cast their votes. Apart from a few voices on the right, most are holding their cards close to their chest, fearing they may be locked into stocks labeled "dove" and "hawk".

President Moon Jae-in is being much more open with his hand. From just a quick glance at his cards, it is obvious Moon sees Kim as a reasonable young man with good, though misguided, intentions. "Brave and courageous" were words that Moon used to describe Kim at their first meeting.

If we are to see things through Moon's eyes, all Kim needs is a 10th chance, a few financial enticements, the suspension of economic sanctions, and a bit of TLC.

We are assured that "mutual understanding" will allow "enmity to dissolve and melt away like the snow". The few human rights violations that Moon does recognize will be addressed through building joint ventures with the Kim regime. Ventures that will, in turn, lead Kim to reform.

Kim, by contrast, portrays himself as the world's most benevolent and wise leader, recognized by other nations as "the world's greatest man," a near-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Following on with........

© The Korea Times