Dialogue with North Korea?

Preconditions for Talking Human Rights With a Hermit Kingdom

Geir Helgesen and Hatla Thelle

152 pp., illus.,
Asia Insights # 4

Paperback - 2013, Available
ISBN 978 87 7694 126 0, £12.99

  • Argues fruitful dialogue with North Korea on human rights is possible.
  • Offers insights to the mindsets among leaders and the DPRK bureaucracy affecting international relations and decision-making.

There is hardly another country as isolated and with such a bleak image as North Korea. It is portrayed in the Western media as a Hermit Kingdom ruled by an outdated, communist dictatorship whose clandestine nuclear programmes alarm its neighbours and which uses dreadful labour camps to control a population wracked by famine. The regime’s poor track record on human rights is stressed time and again by both Western governments and international organizations.

Prospects look bleak for any improvement in relations let alone the start of a dialogue on human rights. Offering a rare, nuanced analysis of the North Korean situation, this short study argues that not only is a constructive and fruitful dialogue on human rights possible but also it is desirable for both parties.

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