“North Korean human rights problems are a fundamental element of North Korea’s problems, and cannot be solved only by simple humanitarian aid and our efforts for human rights advancement,” Hyun In Taek, South Korea’s Minister of Unification, told attendees at a celebratory event on the 16th.
Speaking at the 10th anniversary of the Network for North Korean Democracy and Human Rights (NKnet) and the 5th anniversary of the Daily NK, Hyun gave a congratulatory speech in which he proposed, “When North Korean problems see progress and current humanitarian problems are fundamentally reformed, the advancement of human rights problems will also occur.”
Nevertheless, he added, “Human rights are not a thing that some countries or individuals can reject or ignore. The administration is making an effort to practically reform human rights through cooperation with the international community and NGOs.”
The Minister of Unification went on, “Humanitarian aid to North Korea’s vulnerable classes is also necessary. The administration aids them regardless of the political situation. This is our minimum moral obligation towards the North Koreans.”
He continued, “In reality, the particularity of inter-Korean relations cannot be ignored, but the administration will pursue principled policies towards North Korea in order to guarantee universal values for the North Korean people and establish fair inter-Korean relations.”
Meanwhile, giving a short congratulatory address at the same event, Hwang Jang Yop, the president of the Committee for Democratization of North Korea, gave his view of what is important, “Even if North Korea does happen to move forward to democracy, reform and opening by some chance, they do not have anything in gear. In order for North Korea’s reform, opening, and change, the dismantling of the Chosun Workers’ Party is necessary. Although North Korea trumpets its ‘Millitary-first ideology,’ the practical power of dictatorship depends on the Workers’ Party.”
In order to democratize North Korea and bring about the human rights improvements that the North Korean people deserve, a new “democratic party” needs to be founded, one which can substitute for the Workers’ Party. Aid to bring about North Korea’s democratization will be required, and South Korea’s democratic power can make a difference, according to Hwang.