Night Watch / Towmhall Columnist
North Korea-US: The US Will Face the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's (DPRK) Toughest Counteraction. A statement by a spokesman for the DPRK Foreign Minister. Key excerpts follow.
"The United States has recently become all the more pronounced in its "human rights" offensive against the DPRK…"
"The DPRK agreed on denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula not to allow the United States to swallow it up but to have the nuclear threat of the United States to the DPRK defused and peace and security on the peninsula ensured."
"Now that the confrontation between the DPRK and the United States over human rights is high on the agenda, any dialogue on the nuclear issue is meaningless."
"The United States is talking this or that about the release of Americans who had been detained in the DPRK. But the release was nothing but a cleaning work done by it to start confrontation with the United States over human rights, not to want dialogue with it."
Comment: The North Korean leadership is manic about the UN's findings of longstanding, institutionalized and systemic human rights abuses in North Korea. For most of the world, that finding is not only overdue but unsurprising.
The North Korean leaders judge that it is a contrivance of the US and is aimed at overthrowing their system.
The significance of this statement is that the North Koreans have somehow linked human rights issues to the nuclear talks. That is a fairly small step once human rights concerns are equated with regime overthrow. Thus the North is once again exposing its deep seated belief that it is the perennial victim of plots by outsiders. Victimization is a standard fallback meme for preserving the North's sense of itself.
A second point is that the North's strategists appear to have re-interpreted the release of American detainees. The facts are that the North blundered in judging that the US would reciprocate what the North's leaders considered a good will gesture for starting talks.
The new interpretation is that the release was the start of confrontation with the US. The argument is contrived but the North's behavior bears watching because the new line is confrontation with the US over human rights.