PN's Voice 10

Peace Network Korea
PN's Voice 10, 19-08-2014

PN's Voice
Small steps, Road to peace


North Korea to Publish its own Human Rights Report


North Korea will attempt to counter the UN”s condemning human rights report, released earlier this year, by publishing a human rights report of its own. A report last week in the state-run Korean Central News Agency claimed that the DPRK Association for Human Rights Studies had plans to “publish an all-inclusive report dealing with the politics on human rights of the government of the DPRK and its people’s genuine human rights performance.” The report is due to be made public upon completion, although no timeline for this was mentioned in the report.

This planned North Korean human rights report is seen as retaliation to the UN’s Human Rights Council report, published last spring. The UN’s report condemned North Korean human rights crimes as not having “any parallel in the contemporary world”, as well as stating that these crimes arise directly from “policies established at the highest level of State.” The UN detailed the human rights abuse in North Korea as follows; “these crimes against humanity entail extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds, the forcible transfer of populations, the enforced disappearance of persons and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation.” The report also estimated that there are currently between 80,000 and 120,000 political prisoners being held in the North’s system of concentration camps.

What the North Koreans publish on their human rights record remains to be seen, but it is high unlikely to have many parallels with the UN’s report.

Source : email=paul-schneiss@t-online.de&;OZTRACKING=16f42a37a6743a6aa1a99d1a346d3f7b&url=http://thediplomat.com/2014/08/north-korea-to-publish-human-rights-report/">The Diplomat

Indonesia to Play Key Role in Resumption of Six-Party Talks?

In last week’s newsletter I wrote of North Korea’s Foreign Minister, Ri Su-Yong, embarking on a charm offensive to try and establish closer diplomatic ties with five South-East Asian countries. The first results of what Ri’s trip was able to achieve may be seen through Indonesia. Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, who met directly with Ri, spoke of a “concrete proposal” from the North on a variety of issues, including the resumption of Six-Party Talks. The North seemingly proposed that Indonesia act as an intermediary between North Korea and the other five members of the Six-Party Talks (US, South Korea, China, Russia and Japan); Indonesia is seen as a good choice for this role as it has positive relations with all of these countries.

The North’s proposal allegedly addressed not just nuclear proliferation issues, but also issues regarding ballistic missile launches as well as the issue of military exercises, a particular concern for the North as the joint US-ROK drills, known as the Eulchi Freedom Guardian drills, are currently under way.

The North’s attempt to get Indonesia in play is further evidence of the deteriorating relationship between China and North Korea. Foreign Minister Natalegawa suggested Indonesia would be interested in accepting the proposal to “try to create a new momentum to reduce the tensions in the area.”

Indonesia has seemingly been very interested in North Korea, especially with Marty Natalegawa as Foreign Minister; Natalegawa visited the North last October. During this trip Natalegawa made it clear that Indonesia’s primary interest in North Korea was taking advantage of the limited economic reforms taking place under Kim Jong-Un, such as the creation of special economic zones. Additionally, it was thanks to Indonesian campaigning that North Korea was allowed to participate in the recent ASEAN Regional Forum.

Whilst Indonesia could gain some international prestige if it were to become an international intermediately in such a vital meeting as the Six-Party Talks, it does run the risk of rubbing the US, China, South Korea, Japan and Russia the wrong way by being seen as North Korea’s advocate. Indonesia, perhaps aware of this potential outcome, has been quick to defend its warming relations with North Korea by emphasizing the futility of diplomatic isolation.

Source : email=paul-schneiss@t-online.de&;OZTRACKING=15cf12fd8ca0660a52bf078d722549ec&url=http://thediplomat.com/2014/08/will-indonesia-save-the-six-party-talks/">The Diplomat


Two Koreas to Mark Anniversary of Former President’s Passing

Groups of politicians from both sides of the DMZ plan to meet at Kaesong Industrial Complex in North Korea to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the death of former South Korean President Kim Dae-Jung (August 18th). A group of South Korean politicians are expected to receive condolence flowers from their North Korean hosts.

Former President Kim is seen as a figure symbolic of peace due to his policies towards the North and his efforts to establish peace on the Korean peninsula. He was the first South Korean president to meet his North Korean counterpart when he met former North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il in 2000, and in the same year he subsequently won the Nobel Peace Prize.

This mark of respect from North Korea, in addition to the joint-cheering squads for the Incheon Asian Games, combined with yet more missiles launches follow the recent tactic from North Korea of simultaneously provoking and reconciling with South Korea.

Source : email=paul-schneiss@t-online.de&;OZTRACKING=e5bf5024df39b7c8d89721aa0796d5c7&url=http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_northkorea/651442.html">Hankyoreh


North Korea Launches Missiles Amidst Pope’s Seoul Arrival

August 14th, marked that day that Pope Francis arrived in Seoul, the day was also punctuated by the latest North Korea missile tests. Reports in the South Korea media state that the North launched missiles towards the East Sea at 9.30 in the morning, followed by a further test at 1pm. As has been the case for previous missile launches, there was no warning sent out to ships to avoid the area. This is the 17th occasion this year that North Korea has fired missiles, whilst the individual missile count for this year stands at well over a hundred.

Some analysts have suggest that timing the missile launch with the arrival of Pope Francis in South Korea is a deliberate ploy to “remind him that the Korean peninsula is a region with high military tensions and to push him to send a strong message for peace.” This theory is certainly constant with North Korean behavior in the past; missiles were launched when both US President Obama and Chinese President Xi visited Seoul. North Korea however, claims that the launches were timed to mark Korea’s liberation from Japanese occupation on August 15th 1945 and that the Pope’s visit was pure coincidence.

Source : email=paul-schneiss@t-online.de&;OZTRACKING=434d909e17e30a4b66f079339521ad7e&url=http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_northkorea/651331.html">Hankyoreh, email=paul-schneiss@t-online.de&;OZTRACKING=d2cb70fe8c35cf5559e3df1a3477491c&url=http://blogs.wsj.com/korearealtime/2014/08/15/north-korea-rockets-werent-targeted-at-pope/?mod=WSJBlog">The Wall Street Journal






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