South Korea Bans Balloons Carrying Leaflets to the North. Foreign Policy Problems Will Follow

Commentary, Foreign Affairs
, by The South Korean National Assembly last week approved legislation that imposes stiff fines and jail terms for sending leaflets, USB sticks, Bible verses, and even money across the 38th parallel into North Korea via balloons. The real risk for the Moon government is that by responding so quickly to the derisive dressing down from Kim Yo-jong, it may give Seoul the appearance of being overly eager to accede to Pyongyang’s demands. Such a response weakens South Korea’s ability to negotiate with the North. The quick capitulation by the South only encourages Pyongyang to take a tougher stance in the future.

A North Korean Human Rights Agenda for the Biden Administration

Commentary, Human Rights
, by The incoming Biden administration is now just weeks away from assuming the reins of political power in Washington. The new administration has no shortage of gratuitous advice about policies and programs it ought to pursue. Unrequested, I am offering my advice about what ought to be on the agenda for dealing with North Korean human rights in the new administration. One issue that has largely been ignored for the last two and a half years of President Trump’s White House stewardship is human rights in North Korea. In light of that neglect, I offer thoughts on the North Korea human rights agenda for the new administration.

Is the State Department’s “Commission on Unalienable Rights” Relevant for North Korea?

Human Rights
, by At a press conference last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the creation of a Commission on Unalienable Rights. He explained its purpose: “The commission is composed of human rights experts, philosophers, and activists, Republicans, Democrats, and Independents of varied background and beliefs, who will provide me with advice on human rights grounded in our nation’s founding principles and the principles of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” The membership of the commission is a distinguished and diverse group of individuals, but the responsibility assigned to the commission seems to raise questions.

North Korea’s $2 Million Medical Bill for Otto Warmbier

Commentary
, by Ambassador Robert R. King discusses the implications of the recent article by the Washington Post that reported that the North Korean government insisted U.S. officials to sign a pledge to pay a $2 million medical bill treatment of Otto Warmbier... Anna Fifield from the Washington Post reported on April 25 that the North Korean government insisted U.S. officials…