‘North Korea’s Committing Genocide’
Image Credit: Uniphoto Press

‘North Korea’s Committing Genocide’


He has been ridiculed as a Bible-thumping nut who risked not only life and limb, but also US foreign policy goals by waltzing into North Korea, decrying the human rights abuses many believe to be widely perpetrated by Kim Jong-il’s regime.

Robert Park, the Korean-American missionary who this time last year was languishing in a North Korean incarceration facility, is now back in the bosom of Seoul, the place where before his fateful journey he plotted the development of a global movement to ‘free all North Koreans.’

And he’s not happy about what he’s seeing today. In a rare interview, Park has lambasted the latest swing in relations on the Korean Peninsula that has seen momentum picking up for a return to the six-party talks aimed at dismantling North Korea's nuclear programme.

Indeed, only last week, the US envoy on North Korea, Stephen Bosworth, visited Seoul in what was the latest move aimed at kick-starting the mothballed discussions involving the two Koreas, the United States, China, Russia and Japan.

Park caught international attention after he marched across the frozen Tumen River that straddles the border separating the North and China on Christmas Day, 2009, demanding Kim release the hundreds of thousands of people said to be held in prison camps around the country.

Park believes the North Korean regime is engaging in the ‘genocide’ of its own people, and says he’s speaking out now with a sense of ‘righteous anger’ at the apparent lurch back toward the six-party talks, which he believes would ultimately amount to a disaster.

‘We shouldn’t reward their bad behaviour. That’s what the six-party talks will do,’ he says gazing downward. ‘We’ve been here before. The aid doesn’t go to the people. Giving money doesn’t help. It’s time for us to address the human rights situation in a meaningful way—the time has long passed, in fact.’

Parks says that the six-party talks nations should back South Korea when it stands up to Pyongyang, arguing that understandable security worries over the nuclear issue only help the regime divert attention from its human rights abuses.

‘We need to help the refugees,’ he says. ‘We need mass demonstration.’

In what appeared to be another major about-face, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak recently indicated his country had been left with ‘no choice but to resolve the problem of dismantling North Korea's nuclear programme diplomatically through the six-party talks.’ But Park believes the plight of the North Korean people and not talking with the regime should be the top priority.

‘This is about accountability,’ says the 29-year-old Park. ‘If there’s just one word to describe what the North Korean regime has done, it’s genocide. Millions of people have starved to death.’

Vivre en Thailande
November 29, 2011 at 15:54

You’re indeed right on this piece..

November 28, 2011 at 16:54

Park speaks for most people who have had up close encounters or in-depth knowledge of the North Korean regime. It IS evil.

If you have any doubts about that fact, watch this video… if you dare:

November 15, 2011 at 10:20

no he had every right to do that. we have to understand there are people there that will never have a chance at being human. US China Russia NATO and India Japan EVERYONE needs to get in this. its genocide happening but people rather fight over resorces than save thousands of people from the iron fist of kim-jong ill. Until that happens we live in a world where if you have money your a leader.

June 1, 2011 at 00:41

“Millions of people have starved to death.” Stalin did the same. Churchill and FDR buddied up with Stalin, and we got the Cold War. Maybe it will only take the individual acts of nut jobs to keep insane dictators in check.

May 30, 2011 at 11:41

This nut job is lucky he was not shot on entry. The Koreans were very generous in letting him go.

January 23, 2011 at 12:21

Yeah, Park, stop risking the US’ foreign policy goals!
We’re only interested in bringing freedom to strategic countries.
Go cry genocide to the Rwandans.
Seriously, North Korea is a prison-state nightmare, and framing Park in a condescending light is cowardly on your part. But then you’re “The Diplomat”.

Share your thoughts

Your Name
Your Email
required, but not published
Your Comment

Sign up for our weekly newsletter
The Diplomat Brief