Dialogue with North Korea?: Preconditions for Talking Human Rights with the Hermit Kingdom

Dialogue with North Korea?: Preconditions for Talking Human Rights with the Hermit Kingdom

by Geir Helgesen, Thelle Hatla




A rare, nuanced analysis of the North Korean situation, 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 It is portrayed in the Western media as a Hermit Kingdom ruled by an outdated, communist dictatorship whose clandestine nuclear programmes alarm its neighbours and which uses dreadful labour camps to control a population wracked by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. New perspectives are provided on what is generally perceived about North Korea, its relationship to the international human rights regime, the rationales that underpin decision-making in international relations, and the perceptions and expectations of people occupying official positions in the DPRK bureaucracy. The authors also draw from concrete experiences to give some suggestions to how a dialogue could be established and in what specific areas it is realistic. Here they point to valuable lessons to be learned from the dialogue so far between North Korea and the UN Human Rights regime as well as from the experiences of the already established EU-China human rights dialogue.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9788776941260
Publisher: NIAS
Publication date: 04/30/2013
Series: Asia Insights Series , #4
Pages: 120
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Geir Helgesen is Director of the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies. Engaged especially in the field of political culture, he has long worked and commentated on the politics, culture and society of the troubled Korean peninsula.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements vii

Prologue ix

Introduction: Preconditions for a Constructive Dialogue 1

1 North Korea Contextualized 9

2 North Korea's Interaction with the UN Human Rights Regime, 2000-11 39

3 Lessons from the Human Rights Dialogue with China 55

Photo Essay: Everyday Life in North Korea 73

4 Visit to North Korea, October 2010 85

5 Conclusions and Perspectives 105

Epilogue: From Unresolved Stalemate towards Sustainable Development and Change 115

Appendix: Timeline for North Korea and Its International Relations Pertaining to Human Rights 121

Bibliography 127

Index 131

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