The UN is finally talking about North Korean human rights as if they just discovered the abuses. On closer inspection, two things have happened. Firstly they found their balls in the same draw as the charter on human rights extending to all nations. And secondly China is now more ripe to push into at least not vetoing official comments on North Korea. China’s burgeoning social media is full of public comment, still under the censor’s gaze but much more open that before. But while comment is accepted, China favours stability in North Korea even it recognises the brutality of the regime. It fears a flood of refugees and military instability should the regime collapse.
North Korea’s position is also helped by the timidity of Japan and the reluctance and of South Korea to confront its brother. While most of North Korea’s army is ill-equipped, poorly-fed soldiers and its equipment is near obsolete, it’s been given time to fortify and entrench itself. Should China pull the plug, I have no doubts, North Korea would collapse. However I am sure they would take people with them.
But this is some progress but while North Korea is the world’s worst country and offender on these issues, if these charters meant anything they’d also be addressed at China, Russia, the US and everyone else. Alas their balls aren’t that big. Westphalian sovereignty is still the fall-back position disallowing real action on Tibet, Chechnya and Guantanamo. Or another way to look at it is, don’t bite the hand that provides you with a place of work, a seat, a bountiful salary, nice lunches and generous accommodation.