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North Korea Policy Recommendations To Keep In Mind
North Korea has emerged as a top national security priority for the Trump administration. It’s also a human rights priority. If U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and North Korea’s foreign minister cross paths at the ASEAN regional forum in the Philippines this weekend, how—and why—might Tillerson make the link? The answer is clear: North Korea’s human rights problem is directly tied to the safety and security of the American people.
Six months ago the American people needed to be concerned about the potential for a nuclear armed North Korean missile to reach California by the year 2020. Based on Pyongyang’s latest tests, estimates now suggest the ability for a missile to reach far beyond the West Coast of the United States is very likely.
While national security remains our top priority, there’s reason to keep North Korea’s horrific human rights record at the forefront of U.S. policy. As Victor Cha and Robert Gallucci wrote in a recent Bush Institute report, “[U]nderstanding that the nuclear and missile issues remain the proximate threat…we also understand that the nuclear threats from a regime that pathologically violates human rights are accentuated, as much as they are supported materially, by profits from those abuses.”
Translation: North Korea sends its own people to places like China and Russia to perform slave labor in exchange for hard currency. That hard currency is used not for the benefit of North Korean workers and their families, but, rather, to fund Kim Jong Un’s nuclear program. And that nuclear program threatens American allies in the region like South Korea and Japan—and it now threatens all Americans.
Amanda Schnetzer serves as Fellow, Global Initiatives at the George W. Bush Institute in Dallas, Texas.
Previously, Amanda served as Director Global Initiatives after serving as founding director of the Human Freedom Initiative. In this role, she was responsible for developing innovative research, programmatic, and policy efforts to advance societies rooted in political and economic freedom and to empower women to lead in their communities and countries.
Amanda has twenty years of experience in the international arena and a background in public policy research and analysis, public affairs, and management of diverse, high-level stakeholders. As senior fellow and director of studies at Freedom House in New York, Amanda guided research for the organization’s definitive studies of freedom. She began her career at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, DC, supporting research on U.S. foreign policy and international politics. Amanda is a published writer and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She holds degrees from Georgetown University and Southern Methodist University, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa.Full Bio
The Bookshelf: Five Books to Understand Korea
North Korea may be odd and menacing, but fortunately, it’s much less opaque these days. More and more books are being published that offer insights into what North Korea is really like.
ICYMI: Bush Institute experts called upon to discuss US-NK Summit
This week, the Bush Institute worked to further its long-held belief that human rights must be part of every conversation with North Korea. The Bush Institute’s Human Freedom team pointed the spotlight on the North Korean people in media interviews and on social media.
Two-Minute Take: U.S.-North Korea Summit
Human Freedom expert Lindsay Lloyd addresses why North Korea's human rights abuses need to be part of future conversations with Kim Jong-un.