Why Aren't Human Rights Part Of Negotiations With North Korea?

Published: Monday, May 21, 2018 - 11:51am
Updated: Monday, May 21, 2018 - 2:24pm
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As the world watches to see what will come next in the impending negotiations between President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, some voices are asking an important question: Why aren’t human rights part of this conversation?

North Korea is the most closed and repressive society on Earth, a place where at least 100,000 people languish in prison camps, subjected to slave labor, sexual violence and torture, according to a recent piece in the National Review.

For an answer to that question, we spoke with Brigid Starkey, the associate director of the Global Studies program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

She said one reason human rights probably aren’t at the top of the negotiations in this case is because President Trump is focused on closing the deal, and the deal he seems to have in mind is to denuclearize North Korea, to have them capitulate.

The other way to frame this, she said, has to do with two paradigms in international negotiations.

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