Human Rights Racket Alive and Kicking



One of the nice things about running this blog is that people send you things. One of the more interesting things I have received recently is a letter which appears to be from Ambassador Ja Song Nam, the North Korean Permanent Representative to the United Nations, to his fellow ambassadors from other member states. It concerns the treatment of North Korea on human rights issues in the United Nations.

It is of interest for two reasons. The first is that it appears to imply that North Korea tabled a counter-resolution defending its human rights record in the General Assembly. Diplomats take note. The second, and to me, more interesting reason is the language itself.

Naively I have always carried the implicit assumption that North Korean diplomats communicated like, well, diplomats. This letter reads like a somewhat sophomoric outtake from KCNA--“Under the present circumstances where the human rights racket against our country is kicked up in the extreme…”

The ranting of KCNA is often dismissed as propaganda aimed solely at the domestic audience, i.e. political theatre not to be taken seriously. But this is the country’s UN mission, for Pete’s sake! And somehow it tells me that KCNA invective signals more about the mental frame of the Pyongyang leadership than some would have us believe.

UN Letter 1UN letter 2UN letter 3UN letter 4

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