Peter Beck: Hill Was Frustrated by North Korea

[imText1]Washington D.C — “It will be hard to make progress in the Six Party Talks unless North Korea suddenly turns to politics of confession,” said Peter Beck, the Executive Director of the U.S. Committee for Human Rights in North Korea.

“The declaration process is becoming more pessimistic day after day.”

At a conference sponsored by the Sejong Society entitled “Seven Tasks for Korea’s New President,” Beck said on the 20th that he was told from Christopher Hill that he “is frustrated by North Korea.”

According to his analysis, it is a faulty judgment that North Korea was trying to retard it in order to deal with it with the next President of the U.S. North Korea does not seem to consider President Bush as a lucrative counterpart, although President Bush in a lame duck may want to make an outstanding achievement.

Beck urged Lee to broaden the focus of his human rights policy to include North Korean refugee in China, including female defectors married to Chinese nationals: “President Lee should take a more proactive stance towards North Korean refugees in China and beyond and more actively try to help them get out since North Koreans are ROK citizens.”

On the issue of South Korean foreign policy, Beck feels that new administration’s foreign policy team is “a balanced, very articulate group.” On the issue of North Korean policy, we should not except him to take a hard line. “President Lee’s campaign rhetoric often left American observers with the impression that he would be much tougher on North Korea,” explained Back. “But based on my last conversation with him [when he was, mayor of Seoul]…I think Washington may be getting its hopes up.”

Beck also surmised that Lee “is a businessman first and foremost… and they don’t want to destabilize the situation with North Korea. So it remains to be seen how much Lee Myung Bak will push this [the human rights] issue.”

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