The End of Charm: The Divide and Conquer Phase



Several recent DPRK statements—one on North-South relations, the other on negotiations with the US—suggest that North Korea’s charm offensive is either over or that it is shifting into a “divide and conquer” phase.

The prospect of high-level North-South talks emerged following the Incheon visit by a North Korean delegation to the closing ceremonies of the Asian Games. On Saturday, the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea (CPRK) issued a statement outlining in more detail the decision to cancel talks made several days before: that further dialogue or improvement in North-South relations is contingent on a resolution of the “leaflet scattering,” or balloon issue. In fact, there had been little visible progress on the talks, which were supposed to be scheduled for October 30. Even before the CPRK statement, the Ministry of Unification had thrown in the towel.

There is little doubt that the North Korean regime is upset about the issue: both Rodong Sinmun and the KCNA have been running multiple stories a day on the affront to the leadership posed by the launches. Yet the timing of North Korea’s rejection of talks also suggests that the balloons probably provided a convenient exit from talks in which there was little interest to begin with.

Moreover, North Korea’s blame-shifting has served to ignite a number of fissures in South Korean politics. Local residents in the areas from which the balloons are launched have never been particularly happy with the risks, particularly following the North Korean efforts to shoot the balloons down in mid-October; the launches on both October 26 and 30 generated their own local drama. But the wider politics of the issue goes to the fate of Park Geun Hye’s Trustpolitik. The Park administration claims that it has no legal grounds for stopping the NGOs involved in distributing the leaflets; see the MOU statement above. The opposition believes that allowing the balloon launches undercuts North-South dialogue and is even seeking to pass legislation restricting them. The upshot: the Park administration gets tagged with the failure for North-South talks to materialize.

Similar dynamics are visible with respect to the broader issue of the Six Party Talks and the prospects for a human rights dialogue. On Tuesday, the DPRK mission in New York released a Foreign Ministry statement which says in no uncertain terms “no” to the Six Party Talks, “no” to any human rights dialogue with the U.S., and “no” to denuclearization; the full text of the statement is appended below as it provides insight into the current state of diplomatic play. The statement appears to be responding belatedly to Secretary Kerry’s strong comments on the Commission of Inquiry report and UN process. The statement leaves small daylight between a “genuine human rights [dialogue] and ‘human rights issue’ used as a political lever for making something like a ‘coloring revolution.’” The DPRK is still pressing its case against Europe, seeking to water down the draft resolution on the CoI. But as with the North-South dialogue, the leadership may have reached the conclusion that an unenforceable resolution was superior to a serious dialogue. In a strongly-worded statement last week, Special Rapporteur Marzuki Darusman signaled that any visit to the DPRK would require the ability to visit the country’s network of prison camps.


Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Permanent Mission to the United Nations

November 4, 2014

No.01 /11/14

DPRK Says No to U.S. Dialogue on Human Rights, Nuclear Dialogue Aimed to Bring down It

Pyongyang, November 4 (KCNA) -- A spokesman for the DPRK Foreign Ministry Tuesday gave the following answer to a question put by KCNA blasting the U.S. for politicizing its accusation against the DPRK over its human rights issue:

U.S. authorities including the secretary of State and the special envoy for six-party talks of the Department of State let loose a spate of politically motivated malignant invectives to tarnish the image of the DPRK politically and morally and justify its moves to isolate and stifle it over its non-existent "human rights issue".

It is a trite method of the U.S. to fake up "human rights issues" of those countries which incur its displeasure, cause internal instability, split and destabilization and thus seek regime changes through "coloring revolution" and "peaceful transition" in the long-run.

There is a big difference between the discussion on genuine human rights and "human rights issue" used as a political lever for making something like "coloring revolution."

The U.S. does not recognize the state sovereignty which comprehensively reflects the human rights of the Korean people. It is, therefore, nonsensical for the U.S. to take issue with their human rights this or that way.

The present U.S. administration, the present U.S. secretary of State, in particular, unlike the successive U.S. administrations, are officially pursuing a policy for bringing down the state and social system of the DPRK over the "human rights issue", thus reneging on the September 19, 2005 joint statement which calls upon the DPRK and the U.S. to "respect each other's sovereignty and exist peacefully," the statement which laid a basic groundwork for denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

The denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula has become totally meaningless for the DPRK under the situation where the U.S. is reneging on its commitment. It is self-evident that one party cannot discuss its unilateral disarming with the rival party keen to bring it down at any cost.

The DPRK keeps the door of dialogue on genuine human rights open to the countries that respect its sovereignty but it will never allow any human rights dialogue or nuclear one with the enemy keen to overthrow it.

The U.S. will witness the shining victory of the DPRK's line of simultaneously developing the two fronts before the expiry of the tenure of office.

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