“The U.S. remains committed to increasing information to the DPRK,” the U.S. State Department’s special envoy for North Korean human rights, Robert King asserted in a speech in Seoul this morning, before further emphasizing that the exposure of the North Korean people to otherwise unavailable information is a “fundamental component” of that commitment.
|▲ U.S. State Department envoy Robert King giving the keynote at a KINU event this morning (© DailyNK)|
Ambassador King, who was giving the keynote address at the 2nd Korea Institute for National Unification (KINU) ‘Chaillot Human Rights Forum 2012’ this morning stated, “I still believe that the power of broadcasting can make a difference in breaking down the information blockade that is key to positive change in North Korea.”
He went on to explain that North Korea’s human rights situation is far worse than that of the Soviet Union in the 1960s, 70s and 1980s, and that this situation is directly linked the regime’s successful control of access to information from the outside world.
However, “In the North Korea context, small but significant changes in the media landscape are underway,” said King, adding, “Ultimately, a more open information environment contributes to a more conscious North Korean [citizenry].”
Elsewhere, regarding China’s forced repatriation and detainment of North Korean defectors, King commented that the U.S. is consistently urging China, as a signatory to both the 1952 Refugee Convention and 1967 Refugee Protocol, to comply with the obligations therein. He also expressed deep concerns about China’s treatment of North Korean defectors.
He also reaffirmed once again the U.S. stance on North Korea, namely, “[The regime] must demonstrate respect for human rights in order for it to participate fully in the international community, and we urge it to do so.”