Philippines Conference Room Encina Hall, Third Floor, Central
616 Serra Mall, Stanford, CA 94305
President Trump has stopped even mentioning North Korea’s abysmal human rights record in order to secure meetings with Leader Kim Jong-un ostensibly to make progress on serious security issues with North Korea. After 18 months of White House effort and two and a half summits, however, there has been little progress on denuclearization. Ambassador King argues that we must push North Korea on human rights in order to encourage the government in Pyongyang to respond positively the wishes of its own citizens. Unless we do this, we are unlikely to see real progress on shifting North Korea’s focus from nuclear weapons and missiles to the wellbeing of its own people.
Ambassador Robert R. King is former Special Envoy for North Korean human rights issues at the Department of State (2009-2017). Since leaving that position, he has been senior advisor to the Korea Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a senior fellow at the Korea Economic Institute (KEI), and a board member of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK) in Washington, D.C. Previously, Ambassador King served for 25 years on Capitol Hill (1983-2008) as chief of staff to Congressman Tom Lantos (D-California), and staff director of the House Foreign Affairs Committee (2001-2008).