[EDITORIALS]Stop whining, take actionThe United Nations General Assembly has adopted a resolution expressing concerns over North Korea’s rights abuses. While similar measures have been approved by the Human Rights Commission in past years, this is the first time such an action was taken by the UN General Assembly.
This resolution was drafted by the European Union ― not the United States ― and 84 countries voted for it. The international community’s serious concerns are demonstrated by this resolution.
The South Korean government, however, abstained, saying “Our efforts to improve rights conditions in North Korea must be harmonized with other priorities within Seoul’s North Korea policy.”
Seoul has been trying to resolve the peninsula’s nuclear crisis as its top priority, simultaneously seeking inter-Korean cooperation and reconciliation.
We understand Seoul’s position of refraining from voting on the resolution.
At the same time, we are also concerned that the South Korean government’s decision may be misunderstood as an attempt to please the North Korean regime and abused as a means to extend Pyongyang’s rights infringements.
South Koreans are alarmed and concerned by the North Korean regime’s rights abuses. They also believe that the matter must see immediate and actual improvement. They also understand that raising the rights issue must not hinder efforts to resolve the nuclear crisis.
South Korea’s position may be ambiguous, but North Korea must not misunderstand Seoul’s abstention as an act of silence. Seoul must deliver a clear message to Pyongyang about its stance.
Today, the extremely severe rights abuses in the North have been made public by North Korean defectors and a wide range of information collected through advanced technology, including satellite surveillance.
In the digital era, it is impossible to hide rights infringements, and North Korea must be aware of that change.
North Korea must see clearly that the outside world is highly concerned about its people’s human rights. The North must clearly face the reality that its efforts for regime security are in vain when it has failed to feed its people.
Seoul should stop whining and act to make tangible improvements. Without such efforts, Seoul can never be free from criticism that it fears the North Korean regime’s anger and is trying to save face.