Why Human Rights Matter in Policy toward North Korea

July 13, 2015
12:00 pm - 02:00 pm



Yoshihiro Makino
Visiting Fellow, International Forum for Democratic Studies
Senior International Correspondent, Asahi Shimbun

with comments by

Bruce Klingner
The Heritage Foundation

moderated by

Lynn Lee
National Endowment for Democracy

Monday, July 13, 2015
12 – 2 pm
1025 F Street, N.W., Suite 800, Washington, D.C. 20004

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About the Event

The 2014 report of the UN Commission of Inquiry (COI) on human rights in North Korea successfully brought international attention to the severity of the Kim regime’s human rights violations and the plight of the North Korean people, and highlighted the need for the international community to do more to address human rights in the isolated country. At the same time, the impact of the COI report on the attitude of the international community is yet to be seen, while nuclear issues remain the primary focus of U.S. policy toward North Korea. In his presentation, Yoshihiro Makino described the little understood political situation inside North Korea and discussed how the repression of basic rights is fundamental to the regime’s grip on power. Mr. Makino based his analysis on information gathered through extensive interviews with North Korea specialists, diplomats, and direct sources with first-hand knowledge. He also offered suggestions on how the US and the international community can use this knowledge to more effectively address human rights issues in North Korea. His presentation was followed by comments by Bruce Klingner.

About the Speakers

Yoshihiro Makino is a seasoned journalist, correspondent, and analyst covering East Asian security and Korean peninsula issues. From 2012 to 2014, he served as senior international correspondent for Asahi Shimbun, one of Japan’s most well-respected media outlets, where he also served as staff writer from 2000 onward. He has published a number of articles that explore North Korea’s politics and economy. In 2013, he authored a book entitled North Korea Broadly: Inner Workings of Military, Economic, and Hereditary Power. Before coming to NED as a visiting fellow, Mr. Makino was a visiting scholar at the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins’s School of Advanced International Studies in East Asia, with a focus on North Korea. Bruce Klingner is a senior research fellow for Northeast Asia at The Heritage Foundation’s Asian Studies Center.